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(1881 -1947) 


The Philosophical Basis of Psychoanalysis 



Late of The Harvard Medical School 
Founder of American Imago 

Edited with an Introduction, Memoir, and Glossary 

Foreword by ANNA FREUD 




Copyright, 1948 

All Rights Reserved 





Printed in U.S.A. 


Chapter p age 

Foreword 7 

by Anna Freud 

Dr. Hanns Sachs (A Memoir) . . . . 11 
by A. A. Roback 

Introduction 19 

by A. A. Roback 

I. Peering Over the Fence 33 

II. Locked in a Room With Open Doors . . 54 

III. The Free Man 66 

IV. At the Gates of Heaven 82 

V. Liberation Through Knowledge . . . .108 

VI. The Mending of Shadows 117 

VII. From Pleasure 141 

VIII. To Happiness 163 

IX. The Variables 178 

X. Love and Learn 203 

Chapter Pa S e 

XI. Boon or Burden 219 

XII. The Foundations of Hate 236 

XIII. School For Hate 250 

XIV. Reformers 261 

XV. A New Beginning 275 

XVI. The Path to the Tree of Life 285 

Glossary 299 


dr. hanns sachs frontispiece 

facsimile of two letters (combined) 18 


Hanns Sachs was a pupil and follower of Freud 
for more than forty years. He remained, during this 
period, closely associated with the development of 
psychoanalytic theory, practice and instruction, as an 
outstanding figure in the progress of the psychoanalytic 
movement in Europe and the United States. 

Since 1904, when he first became acquainted with 
the new science by reading Freud's Interpretation of 
Dreams, the position of psychoanalysis in the external 
world has undergone various and decisive changes. 
After having been repudiated by medicine, and disre- 
garded by the orthodox schools of psychiatry, psycho- 
analysis has, especially since the first World War, 
entered into a new phase of its existence. It is accepted 
increasingly as an important approach to the problems 
of psychotherapy of the neuroses, to clinical psychiatry 
and — recently, under the title of psychosomatic medi- 
cine — to many disorders of the body which were 
hitherto regarded and treated as purely physical 
disturbances. Psychoanalysis has thus gained standing 
in the professional world: the teaching of psycho- 
analytic theories and their application to therapy has 
been included in the curriculum of some medical 


Masks of Love and Life 

schools in the United States; and at least a minimum 
knowledge of psychoanalytic principles is, in many 
places, considered indispensable for every medical 
practitioner, to enable him to make differential diag- 
noses between organic and functional disorders and 
to carry out preliminary investigations and treatments 
"on analytical lines." 

This increase in medical prestige has, on the other 
hand, involved psychoanalysis in dangers and setbacks 
which are different from those of the past. For medical 
schools it is only natural that they should regard 
psychoanalysis above all as a valuable aid in carrying 
out their own special tasks. Analytical theory is, there- 
fore, taught as a means to an end, the purpose being 
to gain new insight into mental and physical diseases 
and to acquire a new technical skill in dealing with 

Under these conditions, other important aspects of 
the new science tend to be neglected. Psychoanalysis 
has, from its inception, aspired to be a normal as well 
as an abnormal psychology by offering a description of 
the mental apparatus as such, and by providing 
explanations of normal mental functioning and normal 
mental development. This new psychology is capable 
of a wide application to the social sciences, anthro- 
pology, mythology, literature and art. It is generally 
admitted now that psychoanalysis has proved its value 
as an abnormal psychology. But as a normal psy- 
chology too, it is increasingly making contributions to 
the social sciences and, furthermore, is yielding prac- 



tical and easily demonstrable results in the realms of 
education and re-education. 

In this struggle — not between medical analysis 
and lay analysis, but between the relative importance 
of psychoanalysis for the medical and non-medical 
fields — Hanns Sachs has consistently thrown his 
weight on the latter side. As editor of the journal 
Imago (founded in 1912 in conjunction with Otto 
Rank, under the direction of Freud, and continued, in 
the United States, as The American Imago) Hanns 
Sachs was the first to summarize the work done in 
psychoanalysis as applied to the social sciences, and to 
advocate further research in these directions. As an 
author, he followed up these suggestions himself, in his 
own writings, which, apart from the description of 
clinical states, ranged widely over the fields of dream 
interpretation and the study of the unconscious; the 
exploration of fantasies and day-dreams; the conditions 
of artistic creativeness; the study of literary and his- 
torical personalities; and the importance of psycho- 
analysis for sociological problems. 

For Hanns Sachs, more than for most authors in 
the same field, psychoanalytic psychology meant, above 
all, the means to inquire into the daily behavior of 
human beings, into their relations with each other and 
with their chosen love-objects, as well as into their 
attitude toward the inevitable problems of life and 
death. There is, in this respect, a straight line which 
can be traced from his first paper 'Traumdeutung und 
Menschenkenntnis," (Dream-interpretation and the 


Masks of Love and Life 

Knowledge of Human Beings), published in 1911, to 
the present book Masks of Love and Life, written in 
1946, which is now, after the author's death, pre- 
sented to the public. 

If, at any time, psychoanalysis will make a place 
for itself, not only in the medical schools of universities 
but in the faculties of arts and science as well, credit 
for this development will be due, to a large extent, to 
the researches and writings; in short, the life-work of 
Hanns Sachs. 

Anna Freud. 
London, July, 1948. 


(A Memoir)* 

Hanns Sachs was born in Vienna, in 1881, into a 
typically middle-class family, which counted rabbis and 
merchants in its immediate ancestry. The family 
originally had lived in Sudeten Land (Czechoslovakia) 
but had emigrated to Austria. 

As was customary in Jewish bourgeois circles of 
Central Europe which had already tasted the fruit of 
emancipation and assimilation, a professional career 
was the desideratum of many parents for their children. 
Thus, the subject of our sketch found himself studying 
the profession of his father and uncles. It so happened 
that his brother-in-law and nephew were also prac- 
ticing lawyers. 

Like many other young men, however, who were 
inducted into law or medicine only to find that they 
had no hankering for their profession, or even a de- 
cided aversion to it, leaving it for art, literary work, or 
music, Sachs became more interested in general culture. 
He had read a great deal of the world's best literature, 
was a devotee of art, and became very fond of music, 
but poetry was his special love, and while still a lawyer, 
he translated into German, among other things, 
Kipling's Barrack Room Ballads. 

* A short obituary by the present writer appeared in Aujbrau; in 
January, 1947 



Masks of Love and Life 

Sachs always regarded himself as an indifferent 
lawyer, indifferent, perhaps, in the double sense. When 
I mentioned, in connection with a certain situation, 
that his legal training should have been of service to 
him, he replied "What sort of a lawyer was I? One 
that you had constantly to push uphill." 

It would seem that in the life of every one that 
counts, particularly if he happens to be beset by per- 
sonal problems of a special nature, there comes an 
occasion like a flash, a momentary illumination, which 
shows the way toward destiny. In Sachs's case, it was 
the reading of Freud's Traumdeutung. In Freud's 
interpretation of dreams, the young Sachs, in 1904, saw 
an original and fascinating piece of work. Deciding 
to become further acquainted with the then obscure 
doctrine, which later was to make its rounds the world 
over, he attended, not without trepidation, and in the 
company of a cousin to give him courage, but even then 
on the verge of making a hasty exit, one of the Saturday 
night lectures at the University of Vienna by the man 
who was to change the whole course of his life. 

The practice of law was gradually becoming for 
him a distinct boe; and his purely literary activities 
were now invested with a new interest, viz., the appli- 
cation of the psychoanalytic torch to verse, the story, 
or play. Although the pioneer collaborators of Freud 
were practically all voracious readers and cultured men, 
Sachs probably was the real dilettante among them; 
and when he gave up his law practice, only the con- 
fluence of literature and psychoanalysis lay open for 


Dr. Hanns Sachs 

him. Around 1912, he had induced Freud to found 
Imago, a journal devoted to the interpretation of 
cultural phenomena (mythology, art, literature, re- 
ligion) in the light of psychoanalysis; and, in con- 
junction with Otto Rank, he was commissioned to edit 
this journal of which 20 volumes had appeared in 
Europe, and which, after 1938, was continued in this 
country as The American Imago, now under the 
editorship of Dr. G. B. Wilbur. 

In 1920, he was entrusted with the serious task of 
training psychoanalysts; and this new vocation was to 
be carried on in Berlin. We must remember that Dr. 
Sachs, unlike his colleagues, was not a psychiatrist. He 
had no medical degree of any kind, and the men he was 
to analyze were either medical students or physicians, 
some of whom had already been in psychoanalytic 
practice for years. It was a risky undertaking for a man 
with but a legal training and a taste for letters and art, 
nevertheless he acquitted himself so well that his 
reputation as a clear-sighted and effective mentor 
spread throughout the continent until he was invited, in 
1932, just a year before the Nazis came into power, to 
join the staff of the Harvard School of Medicine. He 
was the only instructor on that faculty not to have an 
M. D. degree. Many of his friends and acquaintances, 
as a matter of fact, were astonished to learn that his 
doctorate was obtained in jurisprudence. 

In Boston, he not only taught psychoanalysis at 
Harvard and Simmons College, and gave seminars at 
the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute, but acquired an 


Matks of Love and Life 

influential practice, for the most part, continuing the 
training work begun in Berlin; at the same time he 
edited his journal, The American Imago. 

It was not until early in 1942 that I met Dr. Sachs, 
when he came to consult me about the publication of a 
book of essays which subsequently appeared under the 
title of The Creative Unconscious. He seemed to be 
quite upset about coming ten or fifteen minutes late, 
because he had not received the proper directions, and 
lamented the fact that it was the only time he could 
remember being tardy. I told him that so far as I was 
concerned, absolute punctuality was no virtue. Perhaps 
he felt more at ease about it, but it is quite possible that 
the habit he had built up, and from which he had never 
allowed himself to swerve, had become for him a mild 
anancasia. The first impression received, which lasted 
till his death, was that of an independent, objective, 
and, in spite of an occasional quasi-cynical remark 
about the world and its people, a most serious observer 

of life. 

Hanns Sachs never sought to be in the limelight. He 
was businesslike enough, and direct, at times moody and 
a man of few words, yet underneath that indifferent 
exterior, there was a world of sentiment, and he was 
not devoid of warmth. He never looked upon himself 
as a professional. In his extremely enlightening article 
"Observations of a Training Analyst," which was 
probably the last thing he wrote before death snatched 
him, he tells us that "Psychoanalysis demands ail of a 
man's humanity: it appeals constantly to the entire 


Dr. Harms Sachs 

person" (The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 1947, vol. 
XVI, No. 2, p. 162). For him, to live meant to ap- 
preciate and to serve. In addition to his near relatives, 
there were not a few who were assisted in one way or 
another, especially in the matter of escaping to this 
Country, with which he identified himself as his real 
home, and whose ideals thrilled him. 

Although Dr. Sachs made no bid for popularity, he 
was highly esteemed among his colleagues for his sin- 
cerity and integrity, as well as for his erudition and 
understanding. Success was no goddess to him; and he 
was contented with the mead of reward which he 
received as a result of his sraightforward application 
to his chosen work and his pleasant relations with all 
who came in contact with him. He was a gentleman in 
the best English sense. 

Sachs did not publish a great deal. The Bibli- 
ography we find in The Psychoanalytic Quarterly (1947, 
vol. XVI, pp. 153-156) comprises 78 items. The 
present book would then be the 79th publication. True, 
the list is not exhaustive, and mentions nothing prior to 
1911 but, even so, since most of the writings are short 
articles, reviews, and obituary notices — and a few are 
translations, cited also as original articles — the output 
would not be great over a life-time. This by no means 
indicates that he was not industrious, but that Schajjen 
was hardly his great goal in life. His was the appreci- 
ative and contemplative life. The spirit had to move 
him, or perhaps he needed a fillip from someone of 
whom he thought highly to give him the impetus. 


Masks of Love and Life 

Those who have known Dr. Sachs in his declining 
years may have gained the impression that he was an 
ascetic and much of the recluse, but in reality, he lived, 
if not as a sybarite, at least as a man of the world. In 
Berlin, he consorted mainly with society people, with 
prominent artists, actors and actresses, and was associ- 
ated with movie stars. For many years he was the 
trusted advisor of Pabst, the leading German cinema 
director. He liked to entertain in great style, dressed 
well, and was carefully groomed, travelled extensively 
and by the best means of transportation, stopping at 
the best resorts and hotels. He was a well-known 
figure at premieres, at studio parties, at gala balls, and 
night clubs. 

His mode of living changed only after the shock he 
had received from the tragic plight of many of his 
friends in Europe; and that seems to have coincided 
with the first symptoms of his fatal disease. 

If it is true that a character reveals itself especially 
in illness, then it may be said that Sachs accepted his 
lot in the last two years of his life with fortitude. 
Indeed, the last chapter of the book before us presents 
a picture of his state of mind during this ordeal. In 
his little volume on Freud, he relates that the latter 
would poke fun at his boundless optimism. Sachs 
remained an incorrigible optimist all his life, and even 
though he did not believe in immortality, he could still 
end his last work with the comforting words, "We 
enjoy our discovery with leisure, and, leaning back, we 
wait for the call to bed, hoping that it will be given by 


Dr. Harms Sachs 

a soft and friendly voice. Thus the forerunner of death 
brings the message of life." Perhaps he here gives 
expression to an echo which dimly reverberated from 
something he had heard in early life about the manner 
of Moses' death. In Jewish lore, he is represented as 
dying, not as Freud in his Moses and Monotheism, 
surmises, at the hands of Jewish assassins, but at a 
most ripe age, with God's kiss on his lips; and it was 
customary to speak of a painless passing out as "death 
with a kiss." Such good fortune was not the lot of Dr. 
Sachs. He had turned 66 the very day he died, on 
January 10, 1947; and the meaning of angina is too 
well known to associate it with even a mere sting. 

A true portrait of a man is scarcely complete with- 
out a specimen of his handwriting, hence a letter is 
reproduced showing the slight pressure for a person of 
more than average weight, the excellent spacing, the 
simple, although not conventional, letter formations, 
and the aesthetic signature, which bears a flourish in 
good taste, but most of all — and something I could 
never explain — the lower case /, instead of the capital 
letter, for the first personal pronoun. Freud used a 
lower case / in writing his surname, but the capital / 
appears in his English notes. Whether Sachs felt that 
the first person should not receive such prominence, in 
any language, or whether he unconsciously thereby 
showed his extreme detachment and impersonal attitude 
to things, the very fact is characteristic of the man. 

A. A. Roback. 


Masks of Love and Life 


Proraaor S. Fraud, Editor 
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168 Marlborough Sl 

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After completing the proofreading of The 
Creative Unconscious, Dr. Sachs projected a laborious 
study on — St. Paul. It was a far cry from the poets 
and artists whom his colleagues, including Freud, had 
taken for their subjects, although Freud himself did 
go as far back as Moses. Dr. Sachs was to undertake 
a thorough analysis of the life and work, a psycho- 
biography, of the Apostle who had intrigued so many 
minds both among the learned theologians and Semitic 
scholars, as well as among fiction writers, and no doubt 
he was well qualified for the task; for he had more 
than a bowing acquaintance with Greek, even though 
the Greek of the New Testament is hardly classical, 
and possessed an understanding of ancient history such 
as academicians cannot always boast of. 

It was surprising, then, to learn that instead of the 
Paul tome, a small book on his relations with his friend 
and master, Sigmund Freud, appeared soon afterwards. 
This was no Fehlbandlung (symptomatic act) on his 
part, but probably a practical consideration, inasmuch 
as the research on St. Paul was becoming too burden- 
some for one who had been cautioned to look after 
a physical condition which eventually proved fatal. 
Nevertheless, that Sachs did not neglect his in- 


Masks of Love and Life 

vestigation into the milieu of St. Paul is evident from 
the fourth chapter of the present volume, but it is also 
apparent that Dr. Sachs was interested in something 
on a larger scale, which would include the inquiry 
into Pauliana; and out of his rich and ripe experience 
grew the present work, which constitutes a sort of 
confession of faith as well as a survey of life (or, 
perhaps better, living) in a setting of depth psychology. 

That Sachs was at work on this volume might have 
been known to a few friends, but even they had no 
notion of its contents; and in the obituary which 
Dr. R. M. Loewenstein wrote (The Psychoanalytic 
Quarterly, April 1947, vol. XVI., No. 2) we read: 
"Death surprised him in the midst of an important 
creative work, parts of which, I fear, will remain irre- 
trievably lost, but some of which, I hope, we may be 
permitted to know." Dr. Sachs's many admirers and 
readers will, therefore, be glad to learn that none of 
this work is lost, and that at the end of chapter XVI, 
"The Path to the Tree of Life," the author suffixed 
the word finis, which was ominous in this instance; 
for very shortly thereafter, it could apply to the life 
which brought forth the book that is at present before 
us. It is fortunate, indeed, that Dr. Sachs was able to 
give to the host of intelligent men and women who are 
interested in psychoanalysis his testament — a compact 
and significant Baedeker to the snags and snarls on our 
journey from cradle to grave. 

The original title of the present book, that is, the 
one which the author had chosen, was The People of a 



Strange Planet, the initials of which — p. s. P. — recur 
very frequently in these pages. What he meant to con- 
vey was that our own population, on our very earth, 
behaved strangely, once you stopped to analyze their 
actions. It is as if, face to face with our own, or, 
better, other people's doings, we did not recognize the 
agents or perpetrators as belonging to our sphere. 

Changing a book-title which could no longer be 
defended by the author was no easy decision ; for even 
editors, at least some of them, are encumbered with 
what is generally honored as piety toward the dead. 
Luckily my experience with the late Dr. Sachs in a 
similar connection, when he accepted, without objection, 
the title The Creative Unconscious which I proposed 
to take the place of his own, viz., The Mending of 
Shadows, was a sufficient precedent and indication that 
had he lived today, he would very likely have been 
willing to substitute something else, probably, con- 
senting, as he did before, to defer to the editor's 
judgment; for Hanns Sachs was one of the rare ob- 
jective spirits who do not suppose that their word must 
stand, come what may. Incidentally, the earlier sup- 
pressed title "Mending of Shadows" was not repressed; 
for, as the reader will find, chapter VI of this book has 
been labelled "The Mending of Shadows." 

An explanation of the change would naturally be 
due. The chief reason, of course, is that the original 
title might easily mislead and give rise to the belief that 
the book is on some phase of astronomy. It might find 
itself, in the bookstalls, alongside a volume on the 


Masks of Love and Life 

moon or the canals of Mars. The title is appropriate 
enough upon reflection after reading the book. One 
might be tempted to exclaim "Yes, we are such queer 
people — we of the genus homo sapiens!" but that 
surely is no novel discovery, after the last dozen years 
or so, anyway. "Everyone is queer but me and thee, 
Eliza, and methinks thou art a bit queer too." But is it 
the planet that is strange? The strangeness is not even 
in the people as such, but in their overt acts as com- 
pared with the motives, in the discrepancy between 
the conscious and the unconscious, in the strived-at- 
result defeating the purpose. In other words, we are 
dealing with masks which are covering the faces of all 
important phases of life, with love as its focus or centre. 
Masks of Love and Life is, in a sense, a strange 
book. Dr. Sachs here sums up his outlook on life, and 
at the same time he supplies the philosophical basis for 
psychoanalysis; and who was there more qualified to 
do this than the man who trained scores, perhaps even 
hundreds, of psychoanalysts over a period of more than 
a quarter of a century on two continents ? His vocation, 
however, was not the circumstantial vector which tells 
the story. He was sent to Berlin for this special work 
because he was built for it originally. There were 
many analysts in the entourage of Sigmund Freud who 
were capable enough, and who had made more spec- 
tacular contributions to the theory and practice of 
psychoanalysis, but it takes a temperament and point of 
view like Dr. Sachs's to steer and guide budding prac- 
titioners in their daily contacts with patients. The 



detachment, empathy, and distance which are so 
necessary in the appreciation of art must figure also 
in the training of men and women who are to peer 
into the minds of other, less fortunate, creatures than 
themselves. A surgeon may be very skillful, but he 
requires no great amount of wisdom to treat and 
operate. In psychoanalysis, wisdom looms large, al- 
though it would be absurd to say that all analysts 
are, by that token, wise. 

To the outside critic, psychoanalysts occasionally 
draw a long bow, or, perhaps more specifically, they 
shoot more or less at random, and then encircle the 
mark so that it becomes the bull's eye. The doctrine 
(whether it relates to the castration complex, penis 
envy, or some other such mechanism) is propounded 
as if it were the apodeictic consequence of a long line 
of causally connected facts, whereas the reverse is 
true; the illustrations cited in cases are only circles 
around the particular theory taken for granted. In 
reading Sachs, we feel that he has started with funda- 
mental facts that you and I have observed for years, 
and he explains them in perspective with other phe- 
nomena. The psychoanalytic term is introduced only 
as a key-word, and the structure is built up methodically, 
perhaps it might be said architectonically, much after 
the fashion of Freud, on a proportionally tridimensional 
scale, and not only in a vertical direction to form a 
sky-line, as is the case with many others. 

Without introducing invidious comparisons, which 


Masks of Love and Life 

may be artificial into the bargain, it is perhaps per- 
missible to speak of psychoanalysts who are concerned 
with the individual and those whose gaze is fixed on 
civilization as a whole. The former are largely thera- 
pists, practitioners who concentrate on individual trees. 
The cultural analyst surveys the forest, one might 
almost say the jungle, the Urwald, as it is called in 
German. Hanns Sachs, whose task was primarily to 
train therapists, rather than to treat neurosis, belongs 
to the latter category, and his observations, therefore, 
transcend the application of one theory or another, of 
this or that mechanism to a special case. In him we 
have a sociologist who, first of all, musters the data, 
and with no reference to his particular system. In the 
course of his treatment, however, the psychoanalytic 
searchlight is turned on, one might say, automatically. 
There is yet another division which may be men- 
tioned, and one that Georg Groddeck (Das Buck vom 
Es) has dwelt on considerably. He divides psycho- 
analysts into two types: the intuitive and the learned 
or scientific; and since he appears to favor the former, 
it must be clear that the dichotomy is not well-labelled. 
It seems to me that the two phases are intuitive and 
technical. Some psychoanalysts are far more technical 
than intuitive. Although in one of the chapters, he 
points out the pitfalls of intuitionism as against psycho- 
analytic advances, Hanns Sachs himself leans toward 
the intuitive. Throughout the book, he seems to be 
belittling the scientist as against the literary man in 
getting to the heart of things. Intuition alone is, of 



course, inadequate, but technical knowledge alone 
frequently leads to blind alleys. 

The Substance 

I have no doubt that many a reader who is not 
initiated into the mysteries of psychoanalysis will shrug 
his or her shoulders, wondering what the purport of 
the book is. Is it an exposition of human nature or a 
critique of society? Some will be annoyed by the style, 
because it will interfere with their grasping the con- 
tinuity of the argument, so that they will perhaps miss 
the conclusion, and thus they will often suspect that 
the author is writing with his tongue in his cheek. 

It is true, of course, that there is no argument in the 
sense of a logical construction of premises and con- 
clusions. And yet there is a vital message which Hanns 
Sachs offers and which is developed with keen insight 
aided by all the implements of his foster profession 
and even the guidance received in his legal training. 

The volume is a psychoanalytic textbook in dis- 
guise. Occasionally one is confronted by a technical 
term in a parenthetic clause, but throughout, the story 
is encased in a realistic frame. Sachs does not set out 
to prove anything. He merely points out phenomena 
and illuminates them. These phenomena are not just 
disjecta membra but form a concatenated chain of 

The book is therefore, an exposition, but it is also 
an expose, a critique of civilization, for P. s. P. (the 


Masks of Love and Life 

People of a Strange Planet) are society and constitute 
the subjects of our civilization. In general, he is deal- 
ing with the ordinary man in the street, the conventional 
philistine, no matter what his achievements are in some 
given field, outside that of self-knowledge. 

Critics of society and civilization have plied their 
trade even before Rousseau, but since his time, they 
have multiplied. Perhaps the most trenchant and 
embracing of them all was Max Nordau whose Con- 
ventional Lies of Civilization and Paradoxes made a 
furore in their day. Sachs, however, is not bent on 
stirring up the world by showing up the hypocrisies 
and contradictions of our social structure. To a psycho- 
analyst, all this is taken for granted. They are rooted 
in life itself or at least in the make-up of homo sapiens. 
He can accept them with a smile, but he is also at pains 
to understand and trace them. 

Such then is the task of Hanns Sachs whose 
seasoned experience as a trainer of practitioners and 
whose humanistic diversions have given him a vantage 
point for observation and reflection, covering nearly all 
aspects of civilization, with love, of course, as its core. 

There have been others who dealt with the same 
topics in an expert manner, and who have come to the 
same conclusions many years ago. Whether or not 
Sachs read Albert Schweitzer's magisterial work 
Geschichte der Paulinischen Forschung, there is a 
great deal in common between the two approaches, 
except that the former writer gives a psychoanalytic twist 
to Paul's personality. I regard Sachs's reasoning on this 



subject as remarkably solid and fairly convincing to an 
unbiased mind. Although undertaken on a less grand 
scale, or, let us say, on a much smaller canvas than 
Freud's Moses and Monotheism* Sachs's treatment is 
superior in detail work, and in the examination of 
sources. Sachs has followed more closely along his- 
torical lines, while Freud's impatience, understandable 
in the light of circumstances, has occasioned gaps here 
and there in the gathering, and some arbitrariness in 
the sifting, of the material. 

The chapter on Paul is a link in the treatise because 
it serves to show the complete metamorphosis of a 
personality (reaction formation), and to point up the 
duality inherent in love (or hate) as well as the mental 
shuttling from the idea of life to that of death and 
vice versa. 

Similarly, not a few of the most startling statements 
the non-initiated person will meet here have, in one 
form or another, been put forth by earlier writers. Let 
us, e.g., take Sachs's likening the orgasm to a death 
spasm (p. 159) as a sample. Surely Amiel has adum- 
brated this observation in his Diary, when he wrote in 
it on February 15, 1870: 

It is the moment of universal madness in which 
all personality as well as all individuality is sup- 
pressed, and when everything that lives communi- 
cates in a great death that is the cradle of new 

■ * Just in case some reader might be interested, the most extensive 
discussion of Freud's last book is to be found in my Psychorama. 


Masks of Love and Life 

generations. Foresight demands annihilation. The 
Phoenix is reborn from its ashes, but it first de- 
stroys itself by fire. Hence the bitter disillusion, 
the heavy melancholy that follows the orgiastic 
exaltation of the senses. Post actum omne animal 
triste, says the adage . . . .* 

What Sachs has done, however is to weld the dif- 
ferent observations into a systematic whole in keeping 
with the principles of psychoanalysis. What we see 
in ordinary life and from one circumscribed angle is 
only a series of masks. Our civilization being what it 
is, the masks cannot very well be removed; but we can 
develop an instrument which enables us to see through 
the cover, and once we have done it with the one, then 
the second, third, fourth, and all down the line will 
be equally transparent, because one law governs them 
all. So-called perversion is not always perversion, but 
when it really is such, it is traced to neurosis, and 
neurosis harks back to incidents in the distant past of 
the individual. Love, hate, anxiety, jealousy, compul- 
sion, and many other states of mind are protean forms, 
often intermingled with what might seem to be the 
exact counterpart. The author has attempted to dove- 
tail the jigsaw puzzle we call life, by means of the 
psychoanalytic method. 

The Style 
Much of the difficulty in reading Masks of Love 

* Philine (edited by Van Wyck Books), page 309 



and Life is due to the wealth of simile and metaphor, 
analogy and parallel, parable and allusion which fill 
the book. It veritably teems with figures of speech, 
poetical quotations, and symbolic intimations, which 
require a truly cultural background; and it is to be 
wondered at how a man who had been accustomed to 
the "whereases," "aforesaids" and "due processes of 
the law" could so drop that habit and adopt the 
flowery language of an Oriental poet to convey his 
meaning. Withal, the epigram is added for spice and 

The beginner will at first find Sachs's style a lia- 
bility; for although he will doubtless enjoy the elegant 
form, he will more than once be at a loss to pick up the 
thread and discover the actual upshot of a paragraph 
or chapter. Sachs is not concerned with the helplessness 
of the reader in this respect. He is virtually holding 
discourse with himself or his kind, else he would have 
eliminated the many qualifying clauses, asides, and 
parenthetical reservations. His story — and it is in 
reality a simple story told in plain language, avoiding 
technical or too learned terms — bristles with implica- 
tions and undertones. It is as if the unconscious were 
playing a dominant part in the composition; and as if 
various instruments were chiming in at different times, 
with the et sapienti sat . . . wielding the baton. 

Perhaps the origins, antecedents, and educational 
circumstances will account for the heterogeneity of the 
elements. A Jew, remotely of Spanish, and latterly of 
Sudeten Land origin, born and educated in Vienna, 


Masks of Love and Life 

and functioning in Berlin, and the last fifteen years of 
his life in Boston, trained as a lawyer, but passionately 
devoted to the arts and literature, and eventually mak- 
ing psychoanalysis his all-in-all, could not write in 
prescribed textbook fashion. The man was too catholic 
in scope to present an ex cathedra manual for students. 
In fact, I doubt whether any true Viennese can wield a 
prosaic pen, but Sachs did not owe allegiance to Vienna 
alone. The Gallic spirit pervaded his outlook in almost 
the same degree. He was a disciple of the French 
moralists; and the delicate irony of a Pascal and the 
subtle innuendo of an Anatole France were just as 
much part of him as his German and Austrian back- 
ground. He thus combines the style of the geistreiche* 
feuilleton, for which Vienna is so famous, with that 
of the intimate causerie, celebrated in France. 

Sachs confides to us his little escapades and em- 
barrassments of childhood using almost the same turns 
of speech as the great French master, when, in his 
delightful Le Livre de Mon Ami, France writes of him- 

What I behold at such times in these gardens 
is just a little fellow trotting along on his way to 
school. . . It is only my inward eye that beholds 
him, for this little fellow is a ghost, the ghost of 
that which I was five and twenty years ago. . . . 
On the whole he was better worth loving than all 
the other "I's" that I have lost since then. 

* "Scintillating" is perhaps a better translation than "brilliant." 



Sachs has made no special effort to be florid. In 
reality, his seeming digressions help us to broaden our 
horizon; the plethora of illustration gives life to the 
disquisition; and the hundreds of analogies and figures 
of speech are a distinct aid in visualizing the compli- 
cated mechanisms of the unconscious. On the first 
reading, the layman will probably be diverted from 
grasping the full import of the analysis, but on a sub- 
sequent reading, the meaning will become not only clear 
but sharp as well. And even a third reading is recom- 
mended; for thanks to the florilegia and other attrac- 
tions, the material will not sound flat or stale; and the 
appeal will only become greater. The glossary at the 
end of the book should serve a useful purpose. 1 have 
explained only the technical and other out-of-the-way 
terms used in this book. 

In editing the work, I have found it necessary to 
make thousands of changes in the construction, word- 
ing, and punctuation, but, of course, I did not tamper 
with the sense. Since Dr. Sachs died before revising 
the text, a sentence occasionally was found incomplete, 
or a blank would occur (e.g. "red — "), which had to 
be filled in. Some of the chapter headings like "Peering 
over the Fence" were substituted for the original cap- 
tions, like "The Other World," which might easily be 
misunderstood as the after-world. Dr. Sachs seldom 
bothered to translate his foreign quotations. In prac- 
tically every case, so as not to discourage the non- 
linguist, I translated these phrases either in footnotes 
or in parentheses, in the text. 


Masks of Love and Life 

That Hanns Sachs, after a dozen years or so in this 
country, could write English with such grace may sur- 
prise most readers, but, of course, the German syntax 
and idiom were not always avoided, and constituted a 
handicap in the editing. No doubt, in spite of the 
thousands of changes, a barbarism now and then eluded 
the editor's eye or struck the blind spot. One of Dr 
bachss idiosyncrasies, aside from using dashes for 
commas to set off clauses, was separating, or rather, 
Jinking sentences by means of a semi-colon, bespeaking 
an almost ancient Hebrew parallelism. In some cases 
this form of punctuation was left intact, so that the 
Sachsian mannerism or "foreignism" might not alto- 
gether be missing in his last book. 

Grateful acknowledgment is here made of the as- 
sistance given by Dr. Sachs's nephew, Dr. Max Barsis, 
in furnishing data, not generally known, about his 


Chapter I 


The world that every man builds up in his mind 
out of some more or less reliable data, delivered by 
his senses, but mainly according to his experiences of 
pleasure and pain, to his wants, desires and anxieties, 
this world is never quite the same as that in which each 
of his friends and neighbors dwells. It becomes a world 
by leaving out what is disconcerting and adding here 
and there what aids the integration of his life. 

Curiosity impels him to steal now and then a look 
into another man's world; this makes it necessary to 
peep occasionally over the fence which surrounds his 
own Ego — not an easy feat since these fences are high 
and hard to climb. ("Good fences make good neigh- 
bors.") Mostly it is from an insecure position and with 
some curious contortions that such glimpses of insight 
into another's mind can be obtained. Moreover, there 
are no means known to check up on their correctness. 
One man's vision may be another man's hallucination. 
Anyhow it can be done and it is being done — 


Masks of Love and Life 

though not as often as it is believed. Looking at the 
world through the eyes of another and yet remaining 
oneself is an accomplishment beyond the range of every- 
day routine. It would be comparatively easy if words 
would suffice for the building of a bridge between two 
inner worlds, but they are of very little avail. Their 
purpose is the easy and superficial exchange, as of the 
small coins that pass easily from hand to hand. They 
are blueprints, but they do not convey the essence of 
personality. It is true that they serve for something 
more than their official function and sometimes reveal a 
bit of the personality like the blurred profile of a king 
on an old coin, but usually it is all rubbed off so that it 
escapes conscious observation and serious notice. 

Let us assume that two men have exactly the same 
biological inheritance and are brought up under abso- 
lutely identical circumstances, with this sole difference 
that one of them had a shrub of white roses outside his 
window and the other a red one. These two would form 
quite different emotional contents connected with the 
words "white" and "red" and with everything that 
connects with these ideas, which means that it would 
pervade their minds. The chasm would be vast, and yet 
so ineffable, that they could never come to a perfect 
mutual understanding. In spite of all the identities 
they would still live in different worlds. Or: we know 
all what "red" means, but to one who as a baby had his 

C34] { 

Peering Over the Fence 

first intense experiences of satisfied longing associated 
with his mother slipping her red gown from her breast, 
although the word is acquired much later than the 
experience and maintains but a tenuous connection with 
it — to such a one "red" will have, all through life, a 
significance of a quite peculiar kind. 

Words alone, however aptly and abundantly they 
are used, are inadequate for creating what we call tech- 
nically "empathy" or "identification,"— the direct in- 
sight into a world which is not ours. To be and at the 
same time not to be oneself is a troublesome business. 
It cannot be done by close and accurate observation, but 
happens by way of a sudden and rather mysterious trick. 
This trick is performed under exceptional circum- 
stances when the high crest of an emotional wave passes 
over the mind. An overwhelming force sweeps aside all 
considerations and makes the normal resistance against 
losing oneself in another vanish like a withered leaf on 
a furnace. A mind in flames is a different thing from 
the ordinary mind. Nine times out of ten the belief in 
a complete fusion of souls and intuitive insight is 
founded on self-deception by love's wishful thinking or 
on the vanity which welcomes the illusory reflection of 
its own image, but an authentic passion can work these 
miracles and lift the barriers between individual minds. 
The psychoanalyst is given special opportunities for 
encountering these marvels since he uses an entrance 


Masks of Love and Life 

which is close to the general approach. What he learns 
and knows is revealed to him primarily by words which 
are apt to become even less qualified for the transmis- 
sion of intuitive insight than on ordinary occasions by 
being put into the straight- jacket of technical termi- 
nology. But they may leave their strictly limited effect 
far behind when they are received as the relics of primi- 
tive epochs of the mind, endowed with a life of their 
own and set free of their abstract contents. The mind 
that utters them must be tuned to a special receiver by 
the interplay of transference and counter-transference. 
Then they are recogni2ed as the new flowering of wilted 
memories, of long forgotten epochs of the mind and of 
wishes which died unborn. Like a procession of resur- 
rected dead they pass through the analysis; when these 
shadows, after absorbing a drop of life's blood by way 
of the transference, have verbalized for the first time 
their grievances and frustrations, they can be laid and 
sent to their rest. 

The ideal picture of the scientific art, called psycho- 
analysis, is therefore that of a magician, evoking the 
shadows of the past, giving them new life for a few 
short moments and finally relegating them to eternal 
limbo. The practical execution is a good deal more 
pedestrian. The analyst, even at his best, is not able to 
bring into focus the full content of the analysand's 
Unconscious in the state of nature that is untouched and 



Peering Over the Fence 

unalloyed, free from all distortions which are the re- 
flections of his own Unconscious; he must be satisfied 
with collecting fragments and putting the scraps to- 
gether as if working on a laborious puzzle. At best he 
gets single intuitive snapshots from which he combines 
a final picture by exact scrutiny and painstaking combi- 
nation. It cannot even be said with certainty, excluding 
all other explanations, that the analyst gets a direct 
insight into his analysand's Unconscious; perhaps he 
sees it as a part of his own mind, the circumference of 
which has been enlarged so that it comprehends an 
approximately correct image of the forces which are 
kept submerged and invisible by repression, resistance, 
inhibition of the analysand. It would be useless to 
speculate which opinion is the right one. They are 
probably both correct to some extent, but will remain 
separated till better knowledge finds the point where 
they unite. 

Suffice it to say that the psychoanalytic situation 
produces experiences regularly which occur otherwise, 
but as exceptions and under singular circumstances — 
flashlight identifications revealing what goes on behind 
the bulwark of the carefully defended Ego. 

For a small group of specially gifted people, there 
exists a different, easier and more graceful method to 
execute the jump into other personalities and their 
moods. To it belong the great writers who exercise this 


Masks of Love and Life 

extraordinary faculty through sheer intuition. They 
make use of the observations of all the externals as 
well, but allow them to function only as the janitors 
who open the door for the guest of honor. However, 
this privileged knowledge has its peculiar aim; its object 
is not the understanding of existing fellow-men, but the 
creation of fictional — yet by no means "unreal" — 
characters. These are produced with the help of identi- 
fication which plays here between the creator and a 
part — of course, an unconscious part — of himself. 
By means of this identification, fragments of his Self 
which, under all other circumstances, remain as inac- 
cessible to him as if they were independent selves, are 
conquered — or, to be quite exact, re-annexed. The 
creative artist finds new worlds, the worlds in which 
others live, within himself, but only for the purpose of 

Actors change with less effort into a new personality 
because the confines of their Ego are not sharply drawn, 
and they develop the habit of viewing themselves from 
outside in order to determine who they are or want to 
be at a given moment. Their art, till it dies in routine, 
is a series of impersonations which merge constantly 
into each other so that their proper Ego vanishes almost 
completely. However, they cannot give a clearer and 
more coherent account of how they do it or what 
happens to them than the other creators of fictitious 


Peering Over the Fence 

The psychoanalyst tries his hardest both to do his 
duty as a scientist and to remain an observer; but when 
it comes to the higher problems of psychological in- 
sight, the line between observing and being is not easily 
drawn. A most unscientific looking experience inter- 
feres with all good resolutions: 

It is the adventure of staring conscientiously into a 
microscope, then suddenly to glide through the lenses 
in an Alice-through-the-looking-glass fashion, and to 
land in the country of microbes, bacilli, spirochaetes, 
and other unicellular beings. Having become one of 
them, he shares, of course, their manner of living and 
loving, their sympathies and antipathies, their ways of 
acquiring food and of multiplying themselves. But he 
has kept his memory of the world in which he formerly 
lived, he can look back on it from his present point of 
view, draw comparisons and point out contrasts and 
even forget his metamorphosis for awhile. Yet, in view 
of his experiences and adventures on the other side of 
the lenses, his ordinary life and that of his former 
fellow-creatures will appear to him as an exceedingly 
small fraction of the phenomenon of life which he has 
learned to comprehend under new and broader aspects; 
our human ways will mean to him the specific form 
which life assumes on a strange planet. 

If the curiosity of the analyst does not get blunted 
prematurely, his intimate and constant relation to the 


Masks of Love and Life 

other world behind the lenses will gradually infiltrate 
his attitude to his fellow-humans. He will no longer 
take it for granted that the manners and methods which 
they have adopted in order to enjoy, secure, and prolong 
their existence are the exclusive, or even the best pos- 
sible, ones for this purpose, nor feel convinced that their 
style in work, fight, social conduct, and copulation is 
unquestionably worthy of imitation. He will recognize 
variations of larger dimensions, get in touch with much 
grosser departures from the usual than those compara- 
tively puny deviations which are offered by the various 
manifest forms of human behavior. This ought not to 
lead him to the construction of new theories or philo- 
sophical systems; he will have to learn to get along 
without such props in midsea of an emotional ocean, 
with its tempests, in order to live on terms of intimacy 
with conflicts and contradictions, monstrosities and 
freaks which never occurred in his customary world. 

On the other hand, many interests and institutions, 
standing here in the first rank, dwindle there to insig- 
nificance or are revealed as pretentious means for the 
concealment of an unpleasant truth. The Unconscious— 
that is the medley of primordial drives and surviving 
infantility — predominates in the underworld, where 
the analyst spends his working hours, comprising the 
best part of his life; reason, reality, sense and logic are 
squared into a dark corner, and wishful thinking, day- 


Peering Over the Fence 

dreaming and wool-gathering, styled by courtesy phan- 
tasy reigns supreme. No solid ground, no rigid struc- 
ture exists, yet to make the paradox full — out of this 
fluctuating mass emerge the most stable patterns of 
human life. The coral-reefs are built up by molluscs. 
Here the result is called character when seen from in- 
side, or labeled as fate under another aspect. No wonder 
that anyone who gets used to this sort of world feels but 
imperfectly at home within the narrower limits of the 
ordinary one. When it is observed from its otherwise 
hidden underside, and all its undeveloped potentialities 
are taken fully into account, human life looks like life 
on a strange planet. 

It is no use asking which of the two worlds is the 
right one. To the man who lives in both, alternately, 
and cannot avoid comparing one with the other, both 
lose something of their absolute reality. Similarly the 
world, as it is contained in a great work of art, does not 
furnish a completion of the actual commonplace reality, 
but, within the magic circle of creative illusion, replaces 
it by another one of the creator's choice. This trick is 
performed with so much subtlety that the exchange of 
the usual world for the one evoked by the artist remains 
unnoticed. The psychoanalyst, too, gets wafted into a 
world that is not his own, and, living and breathing in 
its strange atmosphere, shares its wilful ways. Yet his 
attitude is different and peculiar; he does his com- 


Masks of Love and Life 

muting from world to world — from home to office — 
not as a pleasure trip, but as a piece of regular business 
which, moreover, he has to accomplish on a prescribed 
route, not by the aid of fancy's wings. This makes him 
acutely aware of the effort that is needed to perform 
his shift adroitly and of the amount of energy he has to 
expend for that purpose. If he is not careful it becomes 
increasingly difficult for him to know for certain at a 
given moment on which side of the fence he stands and 
when such a disorientation grows on him, it represents 
a serious danger to the integrity of his self. 

A description of the psychic acts that are performed 
differently in the Unconscious would lead into techni- 
calities which are better omitted; it would be incomplete 
and open to misunderstandings anyhow. "Timeless- 
ness," "Coexistence of contradictions," "Fluidity of 
Libido," and other more or less pedantic terms give no 
inkling of the extent to which ideas play fast and loose 
when they get in touch with the forces of the Un- 
conscious. The investigator must tie his reasoning power 
into a double knot, or still better, make it stand on its 
head to enable it to unravel these phantastic, and yet 
perfectly natural, contortions. An outsider cannot be 
expected to go through all that for the love of Mike or 
of psychology. The situation is eased when the baffled 
analyst makes the discovery that these things, which 
seem so alien to his logic and his intellect, bring with 



Peering Over the Fence 

them a faint but unfailing memory of old acquaintance. 
The simple elements of which this queer world is 
composed are steady and stable; no psychological atom- 
smasher has been invented for them to date. The diffi- 
culties begin with the study of their arrangements 
which change like the patterns in a kaleidoscope. They 
are fluctuating incessantly from reminiscence to fantasy, 
or from the shadow of one situation to the mirage of 
another, from one wish to its antagonist. However, 
patient investigation reveals that their most extravagant 
performances are in strict obedience to definite rules. 
This part of the mind is not lawless although it works 
according to regulations of its own, dissimilar to every 
one of the well-known sort, something like the relation 
of Non-Euclidean geometry to the old and familiar sort. 
To study these rules is the analyst's main ambition. Its 
end is not yet in sight; it would give us the biggest bite, 
ever tasted, out of the apple of knowledge, by bestow- 
ing on the initiated the godlike gift of predicting with 
unfailing certainty how any person under given circum- 
stances would feel and act. 

The first lesson for the visitor to the psychic nether 
world consists in learning how this constant repetition 
of a few patterns makes the life of man look like an 
old-fashioned wallpaper where a flower basket, a sail- 
boat, and a shepherd girl return in endless succession. 
Of course, the patterns produced by life are not so regu- 


Masks of Love and Life 

larly spaced as those turned out by machinery; they 
overlap sometimes or get blurred in places. The hidden 
hand of the inner destiny that directs the strings and 
makes the marionettes go through their prescribed 
movements is more firm and unpliant with psycho- 
neurotics (more correctly, we call psychoneurotics those 
individuals who are held so strongly by the patterns 
which have been evolved in their childhood that they 
find it impossible to adapt themselves to the demands 
of a new reality later.) The "normals" if there is such 
a thing, are subject to the same fate, but under a more 
lax rule; their patterns are flexible so that their varia- 
tions extend within a wide range, and it needs a 
thorough scrutiny to recognize their intrinsic sameness. 
The actors, the stage-settings, lighting, and costumes are i 

different each time, some scenes are added, some elimi- 
nated, but on the whole it is always the same play with 
the same old plot. 

"Fixation" of this sort does not give to the process 
of living the rigidity of a mask or of a doll without 
joints. The eternal return of the past makes the wheel 
of life turn around its hub. What has been must return; 
yet what is now will never be again — this weird con- 
tradiction, staring in the face of the psychologist, tells 
him how far he can go in his endeavor to solve the 
riddle of the goblins without losing his mind. (The 
rest he must leave to the philosopher who doesn't run 
this risk.) 


Peering Over the Fence 

And manifestly what brings the middle part 
Is that which stays to the end and was there at 
the start 

{"Und was die Mitte bringt, ist offenbar 
Das was zu Ende bleibt und Anfangs war") 
— Goethe, West-Oestlicher Divan. 

The force of this compulsion {Wiederholungswang) 
grows stronger and more inevitable the closer it is 
bound to the "centre of will," the mainspring of life- 
energy, the Unconscious. 

So it turns out that "the Bard" was correct in stating 
that "love is not time's fool"; the Unconscious is im- 
pervious to time and the passion of the remote past 
remains as fresh and unimpaired as the effects of yester- 
day; when the two melt into one the distance in time, 
and evolution vanishes. 

"Negatives" are not subtracted from positives, pos- 
sibly because there is nothing purely negative about an 
urge and what is built on it Hate does not diminish 
love, but both retain their strength in spite of the clashes 
between their contrasting impulses. When contradictory 
forces are added to each other, as happens not in- 
frequently, a crazy sort of arithmetic results. 

Facts and fancies don't bear any distinguishing 
marks. It is somehow a world of "the stuff dreams are 


Masks of Love and Life 

made of"; the thinnest and flimsiest lacework of fan- 
tasy, ready to flit away and dissolve at the first ray of 
reason, is as real and important as any heavy-footed 
fact. This would not be so amazing if we were always 
aware of the power inherent in dreams. We feel it 
while we sleep, especially the anxiety; but what they 
did to us, all the upheavals of joy and sorrow, of love 
and hate, through which they have dragged us, we 
forget for the most part when we return to the light of 
day. They reveal their meaning and the force which is 
at their command to those only who have turned their 
faces resolutely from the upper world and retrace step 
by step the path leading back downwards. It is hard 
work, but well repaid by the chance of observing the 
gradual change of something that looked like a junk- 
pile into an intricately designed maze, constructed by 
combining realities and fantasies, past and present, 
honest truth and daring falsehoods. No inventor's 
genius ever thought out a more complex network. 

In spite of all its eccentricities, this world, in which 
the primeval forces roam freely, becomes the favorite 
haunt of the analyst; he learns to look with some aloof- 
ness at the traditional and approved processes of the 
conscious mind. Constantly seeing psychic realities at 
close range and in the raw, he gets used to the presence 
of reckless and unbridled passion; the unexplored 
region of the personality, marked off as "Unconscious," 


Peering Over the Fence 

offers a more interesting field for his study than the re- 
claimed portion. It resembles a cyclopean wall, built of 
huge, indestructible rocks, tumbled roughly together 
but of enormous strength, whereas the conscious Ego 
is like the walls in a modern apartment-house with 
their elegant coat of paint and varnish where it is im- 
possible to distinguish solid stones from mere plaster. 

Another good motive for preferring the outlook 
from the id-world to the usual one is this: The 
knowledge of the Unconscious serves for a more pro- 
found understanding of the Ego whereas the insight in 
the ways of the practical and reasonable self with its 
so-called "Common sense," is of no help for the 
knowledge of anything that lies outside its own small 
world; and even there is doomed to remain fragmentary 
and unsatisfactory. 

This shortsightedness and restriction is brought 
home to the Ego painfully by a lurid experience: 
anxiety. The various methods of ignoring it or denying 
its power, by whistling in the dark, are of no avail. 
Whoever has to face and fight it with his back to the 
wall finds his customary world surreptitiously filled by 
troublesome forms and figures until he feels surrounded 
by a crowd of distorted faces and threatening eyes, 
leaving no way open to him. When he has courage 
enough to keep his wits about him, he may learn to 
distinguish between anxieties of all sorts and descrip- 


Masks of Love and Life 

tions: the static skeleton in the closet or the goblin who 
lies in ambush where he is least expected; the attack 
which sets the heart pounding against the ribs and the 
slow infiltration that paralyzes his body; the struggle 
against a giant's grip, or the slight but icy touch of un- 
seen fingers ; the violent strangling or the subtle poison- 
ing of the atmosphere; the mild tension which borders 
on pleasure or the dreadful instrument of torture; the 
sharp spur to restless action or the clutch of inhibition. 

All this goes on in the broad daylight of conscious- 
ness, just like hunger or pain. But while the sensation 
itself is as unmistakable as a slap in the face, its origin 
remains as mysterious as the smile of the Sphinx. This 
may be due to the fact that the Sphinx and the Night- 
mare are close relatives. 

Fear is understandable, but anxiety? Why does it 
appear in apparently harmless situations, and why so 
early in the days of innocence? How does it get its 
stranglehold, and what can it mean that it comes in 
various disguises, in so many and so "questionable 
shapes"? No answer is forthcoming while we stay 
within the realms of the conscious Ego. It knows what 
anxiety is, it suffers from anxiety, it bows to it, but all 
this in ignorance of what has caused this trouble. The 
Ego is constitutionally unable to comprehend that it 
suffers from a constant and invisible threat that hangs, 
a remote menace, over its head, so long as things are 


Peering Over the Fence 

well balanced, but becomes unbelievably dire and op- 
pressive when an inner conflict arises. It announces the 
gathering storm, and while the Ego understands nothing 
of the whys and wherefores of this signal, it is ex- 
tremely sensitive to its painful impact. It is aware of 
its sufferings — but of nothing else. 

The greatest adventure of the Ego as love, hate, 
jealousy, passions and inspirations, rage and remorse, 
dreams and day-dreams, the transfiguration through art, 
and the exaltation by religion are quite often almost as 
surprising in their coming and going, in their causation 
and their consummation as the arch-mystery of anxiety. 
The Ego stands by like the good Samaritan whose hat 
has been pushed over his eyes by the drunk whom he 
tried to help: 

And he asks how this could happen 
And why it happened just to him. 

("Und er fragt, wie das geschehen 
Und warum ihm das geschah.") 

To fill the place of the unknown sources of many of 
our affects, a great array of causes is kept on hand ready 
for the Ego since he is a zealous collector and warm 
admirer of well-regulated causalities. These are partly 
correct, but for the greater part fabricated for the 



Masks of Love and Life 

purpose and never quite complete; the share of the 
Unconscious is left out and the gap is filled with 
whatever plausible material is at hand. This is called 
"rationalization"; and it can be said, with apologies 
to Aristotle, that man is first and foremost a rational- 
izing animal. Who disbelieves in these rationalizations 
and distrusts the sweet reasonableness of logical ex- 
planations is already on his way to the looking-glass 
world. With the gift — inborn or acquired — of this 
peculiar kind of second sight, he will observe the tor- 
tuous and surprising turns which human affairs take; 
their swinging from wish to inhibition and back again 
will inevitably suggest to him the forms of life on a 
strange planet. 

I can remember some impressions of my childhood 
which have a sort of affinity with this task of slipping 
into another world which, at a much later time, I 
imposed on myself as my life's business. Maybe they 
have contributed something to form my disposition of 
becoming a "citizen of two worlds." 

One, the earliest, belongs, after certain indications, 
to my fourth year. I remember no definite object, but 
the situation and its atmosphere are still quite present 
to me. It was a bright summer day, and for some 
reason I was brought from the summer resort, on the 
outskirts of Vienna (now a suburb) , to our apartment 
in town. The memory I have kept is of recognizing the 


Peering Over the Fence 

well-known, thoroughly familiar home, yet finding it 
translated into something quite strange and alien. What 
exactly produced this double-faced impression I can't 
remember. Anyway, I knew the familiar rooms well 
enough, but the carpets were removed, the well-known 
furniture disarranged and the mysterious objects which 
were standing around everywhere, wrapped in canvas 
or newspaper, might be — but I didn't feel that they 
actually were — the same things that had surrounded 
my normal home-life. All these details are blurred or 
partly submerged. What remains so strongly alive that 
I can recall it and get the feeling of its presence, as if 
the interval of time between the now and then didn't 
exist, is the very quiet, strangely yellow, summer light 
that pervaded the rooms, especially the kitchen. 

The other memory is of later date. It is a winter 
Sunday evening. I am sitting on the deep, old fashioned 
window embrasure in the hallway of my grandparents' 
apartment. The others, my parents, grandparents, uncles 
and aunts, are in the next room. I can hear them (other- 
wise I would feel anxious alone.) I look out into the 
empty courtyard and the enclosing wall in the middle 
of which stands a statue, the dim figure of a nymph 
made of grayish-yellow stone, holding an urn out of 
which no water runs. That's all — but it makes me feel 
that out there is another world into which it is im- 
possible to penetrate. Of course, it would not be difn- 


Masks of Love and Life 

cult to go down and enter the yard, but then the other 
world would have disappeared and the yard would be 
a part of this my ordinary world. Looking out into this 
other one gives me an eerie, but not unpleasant, feeling; 
and I sit there and stare out into the darkening yard, the 
flagstone, the wall, and the immobile figure with its 
empty vessel for quite a long time without feeling in 

the least bored. 

I do not want to give the impression that I was an 
extraordinarily sensitive child or a poetic nature. I 
rather think that all children have such moments, and 
that most adults retain or recall them. I did not use 
them to create a fantasy world, nor did I try to put 
them into contact with the daydreams which in strict 
privacy, occupied my mind. These were unreal in an- 
other sense; they were not "outside"; they belonged to 
me and I to them and I guarded them as my own de- 
lights. They were, as I know now, the usual stuff, with- 
out originality: tales told and eternally recreated for the 
i gratification of the typical wishes and in reaction to the 

f characteristic frustrations of the child. It was the 

average fancy of ambition and adventure, vanity and 
eroticism (the latter in its childish form) as outspoken 
and unmistakable as later, in the customary manner, the 
material used was taken from tales and books with a 
few personal twists added. 

These other moments, spent on the threshold of a 


Peering Over the Fence 

strange world, formed a portion of my mind. I have 
reason to believe that they occur to most children and 
are no proofs of an unusual, individual gift of fan- 
tasy. Yet they usually get pushed aside or obliterated, 
whereas in my case, by the intervention of fateful or 
fortuitous events, they survived in undiminished force. 
Neglected for a long time as a useless dead-weight of 
memory, they finally became the cornerstone of my 


Chapter II 


In a family of my acquaintance were two brothers, 
the younger of whom had an idiosyncrasy: a dread of 
open doors. The older one became impatient as older 
brothers will be, and, wanting to break him of his 
habit, he threatened: "One day I will lock you up in a 
room with all the doors open." 

This apparent Irish bull contains a grain of hidden 
wisdom. The reasoning behind the unreason could be 
reconstructed as follows: "An open door is uncom- 
fortable for those who have the will to pass it, but are 
afraid of their own will and wishes. An open door 
makes my brother nervous, because it reminds him, as 
a symbolic representation, of the conflict between his 
wishes and his inhibitions; it means a challenge to his 
will-power which he does not dare to face— in short, 
a temptation of some sort which he wants to avoid. The 
more doors are open, the stronger gets his tendency to 
lock himself in." This unconscious wisdom came to 
light as nothing better than nonsense because peevish- 


Locked in a Room with Open Doors 

ness took the place of a serious attempt to convert it 
into understanding; as it happened, the older brother's 
superiority and freedom from inhibition was obscured 
by his own Unconscious, that made him pay back the 
younger one's symptom in kind. The younger brother's 
slight but marked anxiety in regard to open doors is an 
illustrative case of the reaction to a symbol. The fear of 
living in face of an open door, the urge of thinking 
about it as well closed — these are signs that occur in 
the life of every mart. It is the function of civilization 
— and has been from the earliest stages — to see that 
as few as possible may escape through one of these 
open doors. 

Such prohibitions, some of them handed down 
through untold generations from our prehistoric, per- 
haps even from our hairy ancestors, are not only stand- 
ing in the way of action, they work deeper inwards and 
control that part of the Ego where the wishes mature 
into will; they obstruct all further growth as the frost 
of a night nips in the bud the future blossoms and 
fruits. They would destroy the power of uninhibited 
wishing and uproot it altogether if such complete 
annihilation were possible. These rules of suppression 
and repression are a wild medley of the most diversified 
bans and interdicts: cannibalism and nose-picking, 
adultery and "thou shalt not put a knife into thy 
mouth," parricide and flatulence, commandments is- 


Masks of Love and Life 

sued from Sinai and impositions learned in kindergarten 
stand side by side, grouped together without rhyme 
or reason. 

Whatever the nature and origin of these inhibitions 
may be, the official allegation is always that they have 
succeeded in closing the door completely, and effec- 
tively, for all time. 

That is the doctrine preached to the "Population of 
the Strange Planet" (which we shall henceforth call 
p. s. P. for short) by their teachers — priests, prophets, 
shamans, jugglers, judges, metaphysicians, politicians, 
moralists, most philosophers — and they never get tired 
of telling each other, especially when they find a favor- 
able opportunity to impress this belief on the minds of 
the younger generation. But the result does not quite 
answer their purpose. 

These doors are not really shut at all. With some 
of them, as with cannibalism, it is almost true, just the 
tiniest chink left open, and becomes visible only 
when extreme necessity throws a sharp light on it. 
Others are ajar, some half -open, and a good many have 
remained wide open all the time. Since the P. s. P. 
are brought up to make themselves and all others be- 
lieve that these doors are shut, and that it was and 
always will be impossible to pass through them, they are 
actually locked in a room with open doors on every side. 

The description of the different attitudes of the 


Locked in a Room with Open Doors 

P. s. P. to those quasi-locked doors, each of them char- 
acteristic of its epoch and place and individual circum- 
stances, represents what is commonly called the study 
of the history of civilization and culture and of the 
changing currents of morality. 

Seen from the side of the other world, these diversi- 
fications lose much of their interest. They are, after all, 
only diffrent means for the same end, consequences of 
the necessity to make humanity move on the old and 
dusty road and keep it off the grass. These cultural 
restrictions are reflected by the individual when he looks 
longingly within himself and anxiously at the open 
doors. The different elements of which even the simp- 
lest personality is composed respond each in its own 
way; sometimes they mingle and combine their forces; 
sometimes they fall out with each other, while the 
conscious Ego, in its eagerness for self-deception, tries 
its best to remain unaware of the existence of such 
internal alliances and quarrels. "And the spirits of the 
wise sit in the clouds and mock us/' 

The P. s. P. generally insists, all the proofs to the 
contrary notwithstanding, that their Ego is one and 
undivided and of high stability. The official code, with 
its strict rulings about the doors which are to be con- 
sidered open or shut, is founded on this popular fiction, 
and, in its turn, tries to maintain it; being handed down 
from one generation to the next, it becomes warranted 


Masks of Love and Life 

by the highest, although mostly anonymous, authorities. 
It consists of incongruous and sometimes contradictory 
maxims and is not less subject to change than all other 
human affairs, but the p. s. p. love to think of it as 
unalterable and inviolable. This sacred code is nomi- 
nally obeyed to the letter by all except perverts and 
criminals and other open enemies of the social order. 
However, some transgressions are committed shyly but 
joyously whenever circumstances seem favorable; on 
other matters, its pronouncements are universally vener- 
ated and. disregarded. 

That these famous doors are actually more or less 
wide open, yet by general consent and convention 
declared shut, suffices for the great mass of the average 
p. s. P. They accept the belief wholeheartedly that 
these thresholds cannot be passed and assert it solemnly 
in the face of their own experience. But about some 
of these open doors their belief is not merely a con- 
ventionality, but a down-to-the-ground, genuine, sincere 
conviction. Even in these reserved cases when, urged 
by their impetuous wishes, they make tentative efforts 
to pass through, nevertheless, confronted by the effects 
of an intimidation which was started long, long ago in 
childhood, these attempts have not much chance of 
success. Only the truly adventurous spirits will dare to 
walk through these doors with open eyes. The others 
will get nothing for their pains but a bump on their 


Locked in a Room with Open Doors 

head. Those who proceed with courage and self- 
confidence get through without difficulty, but the 
anxiety and the prospect of guilt-feeling after the deed 
are a high price to pay. 

That love is blind, that nobody knows when and 
why he falls in love is a truth as old as the hills. It is 
not less true, although less loudly proclaimed that not- 
love is even more thoroughly and absolutely blind. The 
origin of love may be obscure, its choice remains an 
inscrutable decree of destiny, but its presence is always 
as evident as daylight. Not-love is not only blind, but 
also invisible, can be traced only indirectly — like a 

"Not-love" comprehends all those opportunities of 
high spiritual adventures which are met, but overlooked. 
Everyone of the P. s. P. encounters plenty of them on 
the turnings and crossways during his wanderings 
through the space of his destiny. They would enrich 
his life and vitalize its sterile and deadening aspects if 
they were given a fair chance. The p. s. p. could 
enjoy a ten-time-greater share of life than they actually 
have if they were able to discover and utilize these lost 
opportunities. They complain loudly or by sullen pro- 
test of the monotony and triviality of their existence 
and are not aware that they could have drama and 
comedy, alarums and excursions, all kinds of emotional 
surprises and exploits, were they not stricken with blind- 



Masks of Love and Life 

ness in passing the fateful moment. Once neglected, 
the magic is lost till another opportunity opens its 
gates, which is likewise ignored. Not to see the open 
gates is a higher grade of self-protection against temp- 
tation than to persuade oneself that they are shut. 
The hungry and unsatisfied mind is yet not aware of 
its loss, inflicted by not-love. Inevitably not-love as a 
pure negative is far more hidden, steeped deeper in 
darkness than love. 

For instance: practically all of the P. s. P. are 
fond of having now and then a restful time when strug- 
gle and effort give way to peace and relaxation. Every- 
body loves to hear and read about the man who spends 
his evenings cozily at his fireside and, putting himself 
in his place, fantasies of many quiet evenings with a 
pipe and a glass of something, reading or musing in a 
comfortable chair. But with most of them the plan is 
always put off for some indefinite future, a mirage 
which they pursue in vain. When they try it actually, 
they don't enjoy it, can hardly stand it for a long while. 
Instead of being relaxed, they become restless and 
fidgety, they remember that they ought to join the boys 
tonight for some special reason or that they have 
neglected the Smith family too long; eventually, to 
their great relief, the telephone rings and off they go, 
exchanging eagerly the much coveted fireside and the 
interesting book for the windy street and empty gossip. 


Locked in a Room with Open Doors 

The world is open for travel in all directions, but 
the well-trodden thoroughfares are generally preferred 
to fascinating nooks and byways. Peregrinations into 
another moral climate follow strictly the same rule and 
the tourists in a land of unexplored thrills seek 
anxiously to accept a new style of living without 
feeling outraged, disgusted, or tricked. Men who be- 
lieve that they are fond of respectability stay with their 
musty old friends, in fact, because they lack the spon- 
taneous energy to get rid of them. What they call 
their respectability is but a form of early senility. 

Another case: a man visits, by one of those curious 
accidents, an art-gallery, and in the midst of the usual 
polite indifference, comes upon a picture or a statue 
that makes his heart leap; or he hears a piece of music 
— just a short passage — or reads a few lines of a 
poem which touch and thrill him deeply. He goes 
through one of the rare moments of bliss that come and 
go as a gift of destiny, unexpected, without prepara- 
tion or guidance, a pure emotional response which has 
nothing to do with snobbism, nor with conformity, nor 
with catching other people's enthusiasm. It would seem 
certain that a person who has discovered such a sur- 
prising entrance to happiness would from then on visit 
museums, go now and then to a concert, even occa- 
sionally read poetry, in short do something to repeat 
the beatific experience by spreading his nets far and 



Masks of Love and Life 

wide to recapture it. Nothing of the sort. He will fly 
from such occasions like the burnt child from the fire; 
at best a "good resolution" will be made at a time when 
he can do nothing about it; otherwise the idea doesn't 
come to him and he holds on to his newspaper and 
the crossword puzzle — because "there is nothing else 
to do." 

The spectres and shadowy images of what they 
could have done, could have felt, could have been, 
hover around the minds of many of the P. s. P. Some- 
times they take tangible shape in the form of regrets 
or of resolutions for the future: "Next time . . ." or 
"if I were young again . . ." In a negative way, the 
indefinite and elusive presence of these ghosts of lost 
opportunities has a permanent effect. It produces a 
feeling of disillusionment with the dreariness and 
emptiness of the actual existence by contrasting it with 
a vague yet poignant "might have been." 

All these people — and their name is legion — have 
not been so resigned from infancy. They have made 
early starts in the direction of a richer and fuller life 
and continued them in a somewhat desultory manner 
during puberty and adolescence. But after that their 
ventures shrink to surreptitious attempts in a restricted 
area; only to the chosen few — the creative spirits — 
eternal youth and inexhaustible readiness is given. 
Those who become worldly wise, and dignified, and 


Locked in a Room with Open Doors 

full of common sense, according to the opinion of their 
friends, stand for the rest of their lives and stare at 
the open doors, firmly convinced that it is either not 
feasible or unbecoming to go a step farther. 

It is not necessary to look down from another 
planet to discover facts like these. They lie open to 
observation; but their evaluation is neither simple nor 
obvious since false names and borrowed titles are 
liberally used to obscure their significance and true 
nature. They are grouped under different headings 
and attributed to a multitude of incongruous, but 
uniformly commonplace motives, called weakness of 
character, lack of energy, indecision, undeveloped will- 
power, deficient elan vital, procrastination, obstinacy, 
indifference, superficiality, and what-not. A great part 
of them is accredited to the "Strength of Habit" which 
has, it must be admitted, a tremendous influence. Un- 
fortunately, this explanation leads to a new riddle; 
namely, why the command of this force is irresistible in 
many situations yet ineffective in some others. 

The real cause for not-love is more unpleasant than 
these popular explanations will have it: all these self- 
contradictions can be reduced to anxiety. Sometimes it 
becomes plainly visible; generally it is masked and 
well disguised, or "rationalized"; it may appear as a 
purely physical phenomenon or done up in somatic 
wrappings, but always with the identical end: To keep 


Masks of Love and Life 

the P. s. p. from drinking, at their pleasure, the 
water of life, to deprive the men and women of the 
inner freedom which should be their birthright; to 
make them " ' glebae adscript}" as the serfs were called 
in the middle ages — in short, to keep them locked in 
a room with open doors. 

They stay put in their old grooves not, as they pre- 
tend to themselves, because they prefer them, but 
because they have no choice, and they invent all sorts 
of reasons, explanations, and apologies — most of them 
after the "sour-grapes" pattern — to avoid looking 
their anxiety in the face and fighting it with the only 
effective weapon: insight into their true self. 

Anxiety, with the help of various disguises and 
under different aliases, is the bond by which the P. s. P. 
are held down and deprived of a part — and who 
knows how often it is the best part? — of their lives. 
Some are simply chained like Fido to his kennel, some 
soar a bit and then hang like a kite in mid-air, attached 
to a string, and some are bound writhing to the in- 
flexible rock like Prometheus, — but all have lost their 
inner freedom. 

Another chip of the same block: deep down in the 
groundwork and cellar of the mind there is a small 
cavity, or a sort of hole. Out of this rise various cloud- 
lets and nebulous formations which, on reaching the 
upper strata, assume shapes and lines, are transformed 


Locked in a Room with Open Doors 

into melodies, rhythms, and harmonies, into wit or 
wisdom — in short, into originality. The men and 
women who devote their lives to moulding the amazing 
shapes of these fleeting clouds are called artists (or 
poets, prophets, philosophers, scientists, inventors, etc.). 
There is no dividing line between them and the com- 
mon herd of the P. s. P. Gods are descending to earth, 
men are climbing up to heaven and demi-gods are 
welcome visitors here and there. Humanity, new-born 
in every child, looks at the world with ever new eyes 
and a fresh creative mind. Vulgarity and triviality are 
not congenital defects although they make their ap- 
pearance all too soon. Everyone could get at least a 
foretaste of originality and a modest but thoroughly 
enjoyable portion of creativeness if the hole from which 
these clouds issue, remained open. But anxiety will 
clog it till it is stifled. When it is slammed shut, bore- 
dom moves in and sits on it for all future days. 

To hold such a loophole open is the veritable busi- 
ness of life for those few minds that are free enough 
to care for it. 


Chapter III 


Those who have not squandered the inheritance of 
their childhood and are able to keep the freedom of 
their minds — their creative vigor, imagination, in- 
spiration, originality, independence, courage of thought, 
readiness for new beauty or by whatever name their 
precious possession is called — are the elect, the domi- 
nators and the powers in the spiritual hierarchy, in 
which the genius holds the highest rank and the 
"rugged individualists," the "queer types" stand on 
the lowest step. It all depends on how much of sheer 
obstinacy and negation is mixed with genuine and 
serene freedom. Those who tenaciously insist are too 
rigid to be really free; their pranks are but the badge 
of their servitude worn upside down. Their short- 
comings are reflected by the narrow limitations of their 
creative faculty.* 

* A. A. Roback in his Psychology of Character ("Character and 
Adjustment") takes a different view of these "rugged individualists," 
but it all hinges on the purpose, motivation. 

— Editor. 


The Free Man 

In the sphere of thought and fantasy, of invention 
and discovery, the creative mind is undisputed master 
and can balance the world on the point of a needle. 
Genius makes beauty shine forth where hitherto nothing 
was seen but confusion, and detects the long hidden 
truth in a haystack of contradictions and denials. Using 
the divining rod of his art, genius discovers or recreates 
the entire emotional experiences of mankind — past, 
present, and future — expressing himself in a way that 
defies all formulas. What hitherto has been nothing 
more tangible than delicate and recondite vibrations of 
the soul finds its incarnation through his work, and 
achieves a tangible and durable existence in the minds 
of men; this is the creator's invaluable bequest to 
which all who wish may become heir. 

Of this grand and faithful freedom not much is left, 
as a rule, when the man of genius is compelled to 
relinquish the domain of ideas and fantasies and to 
move outside the world which — as poet, artist, or 
scientist — he has built up in his mind. He shrinks on 
encountering the jumbled and trivial aspect which 
reality assumes when it has to be taken, not in the co- 
herence which a creative mind gives it but, bit by bit, in 
disparate fractions, for the sole purpose of the next 
practical and profitable move. The inner freedom re- 
mains unimpaired, but it is coupled with the disadvan- 
tage of receiving much less about the intentions of 


Masks of Love and Life 

average people than the average man knows. This 
precarious situation will always arise since the highest 
minds, in spite of their creative possibilities, are moved 
by the same primitive urges so that their aims are now 
and then on a level where they are identical with those 
of the "Blunt monster with uncounted heads": 

Me you seldom understand 

And I understand you rarely 

But when both in mire we land 

We understand each other squarely. 

("Selten habt ihr mich verstanden, 
Selten auch verstand ich euch, 
Nur wenn wir im Kot uns fanden 
Dann verstanden wir uns gleich." 

— Heinrich Heine 

The sad truth becomes then manifest that a freed man 
is not yet free or that the candle and its light are two 
different things. 

Is originality or creativeness necessarily absent from 
the life-work of those dealing with hard realities 
and fulfilling their destiny by the foresight and wisdom 
which they apply for the solution of the purely practical 
problems of their times? Is there no bridge leading 
from inner freedom to the creation of great historical 


The Free Man 

and cultural events ? Has no one ever shaped the destiny 
of nations masterfully just as the poet dominates the 
material of his ideas and inspirations? Are legislators 
and rulers, revolutionaries and reformers, organizers in 
war and peace, makers of history never admitted to the 
fulness of a free life of the spirit ? 

The answer is not clear; it would hardly help to 
quote the names of those whose greatness is universally 
acknowledged. They are great — but only as specialists 
who found their life's work on a sharply limited basis. 
They have succeeded in freeing themselves from anxiety 
and inhibition, but only in a certain direction; they 
have learned to pass through one or other of the open 
doors, and from then on their energy is focussed on that 
outlet. Not mediocrity is their drawback, but a lack of 
the wide open spaces of interest which are the privileged 
grounds of inner freedom. 

Napoleon stunned the world by his fabulous re- 
sourcefulness; he is justly admired as a general, legis- 
lator, administrator, and leader of men in a new society. 
But when behind this cloud of great qualities, his per- 
son emerges, he is found to be nothing more than the 
greatest of experts in his specialties; his attitude to life 
is hemmed in by his one-sided, inexorable, monomanic 
ambition which binds him as closely as any inhibition. 
His exploits have left a far deeper track in history than 
his individuality. It has to be so. Those of the P. s. p. 


Masks of Love and Life 

who are bent upon building with single blocks of 
hard, resisting reality must and will devote all their 
life to the same aims. Even if they are free from all 
ordinary prejudices in their choice of means to gain their 
ends, this will not enlarge the foundations of their task. 
The artist, philosopher, or inventor is on the lookout in 
every direction; they will listen to new sounds without 
the previous question, "What's in it to benefit my 
projects?" This, combined with the faculty to recognize 
in the present the past, and in the past the future, 
would be a dangerous attitude for the man of action 
who has to fix his attention strictly on the next step 
before him and to measure exactly the distance sep- 
arating him from his goal. 

It happens occasionally that a burning ambition is 
coupled with shallowness of imagination and a narrow 
mind. In such a case it is time to look out for trouble. 
Running incessantly and getting nowhere, such a mind 
will wish to destroy everything and everyone (those 
who plunge straightway into insanity are comparatively 
harmless): to protect the Ego from the threatening 
disintegration, it will try to tear the world to pieces as 
a child does to its doll when it finds nothing else to do. 

The rarest thing on earth is the man of action and 
performer of truly mighty deeds whose personality is 
able to expand and diversify itself freely quite as much 
as that of creators like Shakespeare, or Dostoyevsky, or 


The Free Man 

Goethe, but who, with all his inner variability, will 
never lose the perfect sanity of a coherent and fully 
integrated mind. A man possessing the firmness of 
purpose and the unerring judgment which is needed 
for the accomplishment of his earth-shaking schemes, 
who doesn't become the slave of his ambition; who has 
the gift to estimate shrewdly men and events at their 
right value, but is free enough to brush aside his well- 
considered judgment when his inner voice tells him so 
is a phenomenon indeed. 

Among the familiar figures of history the great man 
of action who preserved his inner freedom intact is not 
only rare, but unique: "Here was a Caesar! When 
comes such another?" 

In him who was called the "divus Julius," the god- 
like offspring of Venus, all human character types were 
as much alive and present as they were in the author of 
Julius Caesar and Faust. But in him they were all set 
to action, ready to hammer the world into the shape he 
wanted it to be and subjected to the working of his 
central will. In the midst of kaleidoscopic changes he 
remained always the same perfectly organized per- 
sonality. He was "the man to all women" but also "the 
woman to all men." The most dandified young man 
about town (Sulla the dictator called him "male 
praecinctus puer" because he dressed in such an ex- 
travagant way) was also the youth who wept because 


Masks of Love and Life 

he had done nothing for immortality at the age when 
Alexander had conquered the world. He made himself 
immensely popular with the pirates who had taken him 
prisoner; they laughed their heads off when he told 
them he would have them all executed — and after 
ransom had been paid, he pursued them, captured their 
ship, and kept his promise. When his soldiers spoke 
with awe of the enormous host of King Iuba which they 
were to meet in battle, he told them by way of en- 
couragement that the enemy was of fabulous strength — 
10 legions, 30,000 cavalry, 100,000 light infantry, 300 
elephants, "and now you have heard it from my own 
mouth you will kindly have done with rumors and 
gossip." He was to his soldiers indulgent and severe, 
to his enemies kind and cruel, to himself at times 
rigorous in imposing privations and in defying his 
weakness, at other times giving his passions, and even 
his whims, free rein. 

As an author, he achieved the highest qualities — 
simplicity and lucidity, in a degree that has remained 
unequalled for two thousand years. His style is con- 
sidered today as the shining example of unblemished 
excellence as it was thought of by his contemporaries; 
and yet, as author as well as in his other capacities — as 
general, statesman, reformer of the constitution and of 
the calendar — he never gives the impression of an 
"homme de metier." In everything that he did, even in 


The Free Man 

his most grandiose plans, there is something playful 
and fantastic, almost amateurish. To the admiration 
of his exploits is joined the feeling that he himself was 
different — and greater — not only than one or the 
other of his deeds, but than all of them taken together. 

Even his death bears this stamp of superiority and 
aloofness. Certainly he must have been able to read 
the mind of the conspirators, and could have torn to 
pieces the clumsy net which they prepared. Perhaps he 
went one step too far in playing with them, perhaps 
he underestimated their passionate obtuseness — the 
absolute opposite of his own free and fluent mind. 
They killed him, but they did not obtain, not for a 
moment, not even when absolutely unopposed, "lib- 
erty"- — that is the oligarchic rule — for which they 
committed the murder. Instead of putting the republic 
under the domination of aristocracy, as they had ex- 
pected, they first engendered civil war and then — for 
many years — the hard rule of Octavianus Augustus. 
It really looks as if Caesar's death was the final mockery 
inflicted on those whom he beheld with amusement 
while he lived. "And the spirits of the wise. . . ." 

Caesar has given the world the only example of a 
life and death in perfect freedom as far as fate ever 
permitted such fulfilment to any one of the P. s P. 
Others may have reached the same achievement, but 
they remain in the twilight of history and cannot have 


Masks of Love and Life 

been on the same scale; they lack the style of the grand 
historical picture. Who knows how many of these free 
spirits existed without living up to Caesar's high aims, 
shaping their independent course through life accord- 
ing to their own free choice, within the law or without 
it, mixing with the crowd or staying in strict seclusion 
and realizing all the emotional patterns within their 
possibilities by way of inconsequential acts and ad- 
ventures? Some of them may be found among the 
criminals or among the hermits and saints or among 
the "Lebenskunstler," those people of whom it is said 
that they make of living a fine, if not always a gentle, 
art. I can only say that I have never met one. 

For the rest of mankind — the enormous majority — 
it holds true that, "thus conscience doth make cowards 
of us all." This conscience which makes "enterprises 
. . . lose the name of action" is as much akin to the 
anxiety which makes open doors impassable as a sprite 
is to a hobgoblin; there are more Hamlets among the 
p. s. P. than are dreamt of in our philosophy. This 
explains why the play has such a general and profound 
appeal although it is full of riddles and obscurities 
for the scholarly mind. 

Trying to track this anxiety down to its lair is a 
job like that of the hero of many myths and fairy tales 
whose adversary constantly changes shape when cor- 
nered, and thus eludes him. Conscience is only one 

[74] ] 

The Free Man 

more of these transformations, among which figure 
also: invincible shyness, stage-fright, boredom mixed 
with tenseness, despotic force of habit, narrow tra- 
ditionalism, general suspiciousness — not to speak of 
the various reactions of the body, like cold sweat, pal- 
pitations of the heart, rigidity of limbs, sudden hunger, 
and so on. The queerest thing about this scourge of 
p. s. P. is that it is in great demand as an indispensable 
spice for pleasure. Anxiety, in the form of gradually 
heightened tension, is one of the most effective devices 
of literature, being presented by the simple adventure 
story (heroine rescued from the rails in the nick of 
time) as well as by the highest intricacies of stagecraft 
and novel-writing. Scenic railways and similar con- 
traptions try — and not in vain — to attract the more 
primitive sensationalists, offering them hearty doses of 
anxiety. The close relation between anxiety and sexual 
pleasure, the easy transitions from one to the other, 
especially in certain experiences of puberty and in 
dreams, bear sufficient witness. 

The problem of the relation between anxiety and 
pleasure is not so hard to solve as it looks. Anxiety 
can be pleasant when it appears in small quantities, 
carefully doled out, rising rhythmically and, most of 
all, when its source can be kept under strict control. 
The artificially fabricated anxiety of fiction, for in- 
stance, is always well in hand since it depends on the 

[ 75 ] 

Masks of Love and Life 

willing cooperation of the reader or spectator; he can 
drop the illusion and step out of it any moment . (Can 
he ? Evidently not always — but that is then a border- 
line situation between pleasure and neurosis.) On the 
other hand, a reality situation which provokes a cer- 
tain amount of well-managed anxiety may be allowed 
to exercise its attraction. 

It sounds paradoxical, but it is attested not only by 
the close relationship between anxiety and sensual 
pleasure, but by many cultural institutions — by art 
and religion, myths and superstitions — that the P. s. p. 
in general can enjoy life neither with anxiety nor with- 
out it — just as married partners say about one another 
shortly before the divorce. It is their lot to oscillate 
from the wish to the fear, and back again, or to stay 
suspended in mid-air between them. 

A boy — I presume he must have been around seven 
years old — went to a birthday party and enjoyed him- 
self immensely. His crowning pleasure was, of course, 
the sweets, but he declined to taste one special kind of 
cake. The adults who knew how fond he had always 
been of it, and perhaps read his greed in his eyes, tried 
to persuade him, but it was all in vain; he rejected it 
obstinately, but when all of it had been eaten by the 
other children, he broke into tears and remained dis- 
consolate till he was sent home. It need hardly be said 
that he wanted this special dessert more than anything 


The Free Man 

An educational psychologist, if present, would have 
said that the boy was hindered by shame — using the 
word as another of the numerous pseudonyms for 
hidden anxiety. But of what was he ashamed? Why 
was he afraid to show his thoroughly legitimate de- 
light in the presence of his friends and playmates? 
Probably because he liked it more than they did, liked 
it too much, liked it to the brink of self-abandon. From 
that he shrank and was caught in the meshes of the old 
rule of falling over backwards; ("overcompensation" 
and "reaction formation" are the analytical terms). 
Distrusting his power of self-control, he reacted as if it 
were a dangerous temptation to his integrity and self- 
control, and refused it altogether. This abnormal 
severity and dread of self-indulgence makes the analyst 
who has seen similar reactions by the dozen surmise 
that he had given himself good reason to distrust his 
power of resistance on different and less innocent occa- 
sions. He had not been strong enough to give up 
another delight although he knew that those whose 
love he wanted to retain or to whose authority he 
looked up did sharply disapprove of it.* It is left to 
anybody's guess what the boy's sweet, but condemned, 

pleasure was. 

Shame — anxiety — guilt feeling, by whatever name 

* The author's allusion is evidently to the retention of stools, 
which according to Freud, plays an important part in the formation 
of character. 

— Editor. 

Masks of Love and Life 

we prefer to call it, worked on him and made him feel 
that he would rather suffer the deprivation than enjoy 
what he desired so much. We find in him a beginner 
in the art of stopping before one of the open doors. 

The moral of this story is that the boy (the father 
of the man) learns to be abstemious against his will 
because he is afraid of the force of his greedy wishes 
and of the consequences entailed by them. 

The impact of anxiety, hemming in the free move- 
ment of the mind, begins very early, almost simul- 
taneously with life. It can be seen hovering over the 
cradle of every newborn inhabitant of the P. s. P. ; it 
takes a decisive part in the development of human 
civilization from its beginnings. Primitive tribes are 
beset with taboos and the fear of demons. Taking 
accurate measurements of the length and weight by 
which anxiety binds us has not made it easier to bear. 
The universally popular belief in the existence of a 
time free from oppression by anxiety and guilt in the 
past or of possible liberation in the future — the golden 
age, paradise, the millenium, the Periclean age, the 
classless society, etc.— is due to wishful thinking which 
fills out the blank spaces in the past and in the future. 
The high variability of the forms under which anxiety 
makes its appearance helps to ignore the fact that its 
attacks have been launched at all times and at all stages 
of civilization, and causes us to deny that it will wreak 


The Free Man 



These indirect and veiled manifestations of anxiety 
supersede the simple, straightforward ones all too soon 
in the life of the individual as in the development of 
civilization. When the child complains: "Mama, what 
shall I do? I have nothing to play with," this process 
of obscuration is already well underway. 

It would be an injustice to believe that the P. S. P. 
subject themselves willingly to the bondage and are 
indifferent to the blessings of inner peace and freedom. 
In spite of denials and repressions, their longing for 
the fulfillment, in their own time, of their silent hope 
never dies; and they cherish the promise which slum- 
bers in their minds. They are only intermittently aware 
of it, but they cling passionately to the expectation of 
a fuller and richer life that must be somewhere in store 
for them, be it beyond the grave; and they couldn't go 
on with their ordinary, everyday existence without see- 
ing its reflection in their day-dreams. If their own, 
home-made dream doesn't suffice, they find material 
galore in fairy tales and novels, in plays and pictures, 
and, above all, in their religion. 

Beauty is the revelation of the existence, or potential 
existence, of a life moving on a higher plane, the pledge 
that eases the weary pilgrim. Every man keeps looking 
out for its appearance — somewhere, sometime. What 


Masks of Love and Life 

of it, if it is far away and will always stay there so long 
as he feels that it has not gone out of the world? It 
does not discourage him that his eyes and ears are 
closed to it at present, that his senses are too obtuse 
and his ideas too rigid to find the way toward it. The 
unveiling of beauty may come in a sudden flash or by 
the guidance of a benevolent power; besides art, science, 
and religious faith, love is the rock of ages in which 
he puts his trust — or, more accurately, love compre- 
hends all these. In any case, it is the reflection of beauty 
that holds out the eternal promise of a life free from 
anxiety — an assurance which can be called neither true 
nor false, since it carries its reality within itself. 

The generally ignored but profound longing for 
"the good life" causes the peculiar attitude of the 
P. s. P. toward those who give the impression of being 
freer from anxiety than their fellow-men. They are 
regarded with suspicion and envy, often reviled and 
persecuted, but they are never left alone. The general 
interest is fixed on them like that of a lover on a suc- 
cessful rival. Under other circumstances this interest 
takes a positive form, and the man who convinces his 
brothers of his inner freedom may be venerated, adored 
as godlike, and offered the leadership. Some of the 
riddles in history as to why certain inadequate per- 
sonalities became the idolized leaders of a mass of 
humanity, are due to the skill with which these men 


The Free Man 

were able to convince their followers of their absolute 
freedom from anxiety. This belief is often wrong and 
illusory and it goes on the rocks when they lose the 
confidence of their followers and with it their own. 

The attraction which psychoanalysis exercises on 
sensitive minds may have a similar origin. It is not 
primarily based on its scientific value or the thera- 
peutic success. In a personal relation it would be 
"transference" and this general, impersonal transference 
is founded on the unformulated, implicit promise of a 
greater freedom from anxiety that can be achieved by 
better self-knowledge. Psychoanalysis gets thus en- 
dowed with an aureole which is not wholly undeserved; 
slow, beset with problems and difficulties and imperfect 
in its results, it points in spite of all these drawbacks 
to the only hitherto accessible means by which human 
will and reason can learn how to fight anxiety and win 
the peace of inner freedom. 


Chapter IV 


The efforts and exploits of the men of action lie 
before the world's eyes like an open book, and who- 
ever thinks it worth his while can decipher what they 
were, did, and what they were compelled to leave 
undone. It is not so with those whose attainments and 
adventures belong to the inner world which they built 
up; to judge how far they succeeded is a perplexing 
task even if they have told us a great deal about them- 
selves, as the poets and artists among them, intention- 
ally or not, are bound to do. To an outsider, when he 
tries to explore them, these private worlds are labyrinths 
which make him lose his direction so he never gets to 
the center. 

Poets, philosophers, prophets, scientists, and other 
dreamers have an indirect influence on history which is 
more lasting than that which the greatest men of action 
can boast of. Their imprint on their own epoch may be 
slight, but it becomes more marked with the passing of 
time; their inner experiences have more intense con- 


At the Gates of Heaven 

sequences than historical events and their dreams out- 
weigh and outlive the mightiest deeds. 

The strong appeal that they have for the p. s. p. 
is due to the promise of a new road toward inner free- 
dom which they hold out. Yet only a small number 
of them have proved strong and free enough to fulfill 
their promise. The teaching that flowed out from the 
others was not the pure wine of their dreams but a 
strongly adulterated, artificial product, a compromise 
between the freedom of the spirit and a strictly con- 
trolled, rigid Ego. The outcome had to move on 
tortuous lines in order to avoid certain prohibited 
regions. Their message became involved and self- 
contradictory: partly it was the good message, the 
gospel of liberation; partly, it was an enticement into 
slavery. They made their personal inhibitions become 
general laws; after liberating one hand, they forged 
new shackles for the other. 

These tortured spirits become the predestined lead- 
ers whenever history takes a sudden turning. The 
sharpest corner that ever occurred was the transition 
in regard to the outlook on life and death from the 
wisdom of antiquity to the new stand taken by Christian 
ethics. The ancients took a modest attitude toward 
these problems; it did not admit that the individual 
had a personal claim for duration in face of the 
Universe. Men did not think that their Ego was some- 


Masks of Love and Life 

thing so grandiose and extraordinary that the world 
couldn't do without it. They accepted its extinction, 
with certain reservations about the preservation of the 
remains of the body and a shadowy, indiscriminate 
existence of the soul somewhere in the underworld. 
Individual life was in the present, not in the past, not 
in the future. The new pride in which the sinking 
antiquity sought consolation for the loss of its beauty 
and vigor made the indelibility of the Ego the center 
of the order of the universe; consequently new, enor- 
mous, hardly bearable responsibilities were created. 
"Pride must suffer constraint" says the old proverb and 
the awareness that every step in life was bound to have 
irremediable consequences through all eternity led to 
a hitherto unknown rigor in human, or often inhuman, 

The most moving spectacle that the P. s. P. has to 
offer is to see one of the loftiest and most cruelly tor- 
tured of these spirits at work, liberating and enslaving 
a few humble contemporaries and an interminable 
procession of later generations, the end of which is not 
yet in sight. In his vain striving after inner freedom 
this spirit became the originator of a truly world- 
shaking event, the first and greatest missionary of new- 
born Christianity. His impulses molded the movement 
and gave it the strength to conquer. Possessing, like 
most tortured souls, a profound, intuitive insight into 


At the Gates of Heaven 

the mind, he aroused forces the existence of which 
nobody had hitherto suspected. 

Saul, the pious Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, born 
in Tarsus, calling himself Paul to make it known to 
everyone that he was entitled to the rights of a Roman 
citizen, had thirsted after the water of life for a long 
time. He searched for it with all the zeal of an 
ardent mind devoted to a single purpose — first by 
acquiring wisdom in the ways of the eager student, — 
for all that remaining thirsty; then by strict obedience 
in fulfillment of the letter of the law — and had found 
it was in vain; then by cruelty and ruthlessness against 
those who slighted the law — and it had given him 
nothing but a heavy heart. And then, where he had 
never expected it, he found what was to become his 
life — on the road to Damascus. 

He had always felt that sweetness of life and its 
riches, that happiness and peace and, most precious 
of all, perfect inner freedom were in store for him, 
that it was more than an idle dream. But whenever he 
had tried to hold them, these blessings had eluded his 
grasp. A case of the open doors again, but a very 
special case. He longed for freedom and the true life 
with a desire which nothing could weaken and cried 
out for it with a voice which is still heard over the 
centuries, (for instance: Romans, VIII: 21). In the fire 
of his frenzy, the multiform aspects of the problem 


Masks of Love and Life 

which confuse the ordinary observer were finally melted 
down to one pair of opposites. 

At the one end stood death. All mortals, pre- 
sumably beginning at the cell-stage, show a deep 
aversion to personal extinction, to the tearing down of 
their structure. With the p. s. p. this antipathy has 
become an anxiety; other organisms, including the 
highest developed animal forms, know neither what 
they are trying to avoid nor that their attempts are in 
vain. In homo sapiens the idea of death became ex- 
plicit, a part of his consciousness that was steadfastly 
rejected by his Unconscious. He reacted by creating 
more or less satisfactory fantasies of continued 

This anxiety, which overshadows the humans, 
spoiled for Paul everything in life; it became the 
embodiment of all frustrations. Its significance was 
not only that it made life unstable, unreliable, passing 
out from between a man's fingers before he was able 
to close them; it stood as the symbol of every defeat 
and inhibition, as the way leading to the impassable 
doors, or, in his language: by drive of desire, the law 
was turned into the constant threat of sin and sin was 
identical with death, was in fact the absolute death 
{Romans, VII: 7, 8). 

Opposite death stood the absolution from sinful 
desire and with it the freedom from the yoke of im- 


At the Gates of Heaven 

posed rules and inhibitions. How was it possible to 
make the pronounced will of God void and superfluous, 
to see in his Holy Law a snare and a danger, without 
rejecting him? 

To live in the tension of this dualism was more than 
Paul, the monotheistic Jew, could stand. The traces 
left on his mind by the torment remained plainly visible 
long afterwards. ("I am the most wretched of men. 
Who will release me from the body of this death?" 
Romans, VII: 24; "If the dead are not awakened, let 
us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die," /. Corinthians, 

XV: 32). 

Did the solution, once found, give peace to his 
tortured mind? In any case, it gave him strength to 
challenge and to conquer an empire. It endowed him 
with the courage to undertake the superhuman task of 
leading all nations to the new springs of life — to 
salvation. The light of which the first ray had struck 
him on the way to Damascus signified: Life can be 
gained through death only, life is given to him whom 
love makes forever willing to die; love, in accepting 
death, conquers sin and death and the law. 

It will require some investigation to discover just 
how the mind of the Apostle could pluck the rose of 
salvation from the thorny hedge of these paradoxes. 

First of all: the true meaning of some of the words 
and names which he uses has to be emphasized since it 


Masks of Love and Life 

has become nebulous or over-technical even in the most 
faithful translations. 

When Paulus speaks of God {Theos) he doesn't \ 

think of a more or less vague, philosophical, and gen- <j 

erally accepted concept of the Deity. He means Jehovah ! 

of the Old Testament, or rather the Jehovah that he j 

and other contemporary Jews had abstracted from the 
Bible. He used, of course, the term of the Septuagint, 
the official Greek translation which he doubtless knew 
from early childhood (probably becoming acquainted 
later with the Hebrew original) . 

The word Theos was for Paul the exact rendering 
of Jehovah (Yahveh, Elohim) and nothing else, for .j 

Paul was, and remained a pious, zealous Jew, that is: a \ 

strict monotheist. The evidence for Paul's considering I 

himself an orthodox Jew is abundant. He calls him- 
self proudly a "Jew descended from Jews, of the tribe of j 
Benjamin, the seed of Abraham, circumcised in the or- 
dained manner." At his last, ill-fated stay in Jerusalem 
he subjected himself to the rite of purification (more I 
correctly: of being made holy; it was the demand of 
Jehovah that the Jews should be a holy people) and let j 
it be known, at the Temple, when sacrifice could be \ 
offered for him, all this with the purpose of empha- \ 
sizing that he was a pious Jew. (Acts XVI: 26.) I 

His intense attachment to the Jews and the Jewish 
religion caused one of his deepest, apparently endless, j 


At the Gates of Heaven 

conflicts. After he had become the foremost missionary 
to the Gentiles, defending their equal right to salvation 
and to the brotherhood of Christ, he tried to soothe his 
conscience by a curious device. The true Jews, the Jews 
according to the spirit, were the Christians, whatever 
they might have been before, since Jehovah had ac- 
cepted the eater of unlawful food as well as the non- 
eater {Romans XLV: 3) whereas the Jews, the real, 
actual Jewish people, were only "Jews according to the 

Did this ingenious stratagem suffice to end his 
scruples? By no means. He still feels deeply afflicted. 
Despair breaks out in his words when he declares that 
in his supreme anguish he would wish to be accursed 
and separated from salvation for the sake of his breth- 
ren according to the flesh (Romans IX: 2,3). His 
ultimate hope lies still with his own people. The pur- 
pose of Jehovah, admitting the Gentiles as the "Jews 
according to the spirit," he declares solemnly (Romans 
XI: 11-15) is to incite the Jewish people to jealousy: 
It is a means to an end, and the end itself is that the 
"Jews according to the flesh" will through conversion 
to Christianity become identical with the "Jews accord- 
ing to the spirit"; in this he sees a consummation more 
devoutly to be wished for than the conversion of the 
Gentiles ever could become. "What would their admis- 
sion mean if not life brought out from the dead?" 


Masks of Love and Life 

Follows the famous simile of the grafting of the 
olive tree. Here the conflict in the Apostle's mind mani- 
fests itself in a mistake (a symptomatic act) which is 
calculated to warm the cockles of an analyst's heart by 
bearing out Freud's theory in his Psychopathology of 
Everyday Life. Paul speaks of the grafting of the wild- 
olive branches (the Gentiles) on to the rich and noble 
stem (root) from which some of the original branches, 
the Jews, have been broken oif, but will one day be re- 
placed. No gardener ever grafted a wild branch on a 
noble stem; it is, of course, always the other way round. 
(It has been observed, and very justly, that Paul 
shows the typical traits of mind of the city dweller. In 
contrast to the Synoptic Gospels where the parables 
and similes are nearly all taken from nature, the fields 
and flowers and rural conditions, his illustrations and 
turns of speech reflect commercial transactions, and 
still more the forms of law — adoption, manumission, 
justification, and the like. But Paul can hardly have 
been ignorant of so simple a fact, nor his mind so 
illogical as to believe seriously that wild and inferior 
slips are used for the grafting on a noble stem.) 

Christ os is the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew 
"Messiah," both words meaning "the Anointed." A 
passage, for instance, like Romans VI: 22 which is 
commonly translated: "God's gift is life eternal in 
Jesus Christ" has a different and more pregnant sense 


At the Gates of Heaven 

when we read it: "The gift of Jehovah's grace is life 
eternal in Jesus the Messiah" (Jesus being the 
Hellenized form of the name Joshua). 

The Apostle everywhere keeps up (at least in the 
four authentic Epistles) a sharp distinction between 
Jehovah, the only and almighty God, and the Messiah, 
and also between "the grace of Jehovah and the gifts in 
the grace of this one man Jesus the Messiah" {Romans 
VI: 15). The most important of all events on which 
depends the salvation, the resurrection (more correct: 
awakening or rousing) happens to the Messiah by the 
will and power of Jehovah. How could it be otherwise ? 
Since Yaveh has lost nothing of the omnipotence which 
is inseparable from monotheism, it can only be his act 
which rouses the dead, {e.g. Romans IV: 25 and 
VIII: 11). The Messiah is his creature, his "son," and 
any human being can become his son (literally: put in 
the place of a son, legal designation for adoption) by 
following his example. When he is swayed from it by 
anxiety and desire, and only the fear of the law keeps 
him from sin, then man becomes a slave, not a son. 
The Messiah is "the first-born of my brothers who will 
be able to shape themselves into the formed image of 
the son," (Romans VIII: 29). 

This rigid uncompromising monotheism of Paulus 
is the cause of his curious method of argumentation. 
He demolishes the law of Moses, declares it unneces- 


Masks of Love and Life 

sary for the "Jews according to the spirit" and uses for 
this purpose, first and last and everywhere, the authority 
of the Old Testament. The whole front of his edifice 
is made up of quotations from the Septuagint. His 
favorite arguments are conclusions, analogies, and 
parables drawn from the most impressive parts of the 
Old Testament, e.g., the argument concerning Abraham 
(Romans I: 5) concerning Adam (Romans VI: 14-16, 
Romans IX: 10-13) concerning Jacob and Esau (Ro- 
mans XVI: 45) or about the "rock in the desert" 
(/ Corinthians X: 4). 

The title given by him to Jesus, the Messiah, cur- 
rently translated by "our Lord," is Kurios, "master," 
"overlord." In the countries of Hellenistic civilization 
it was the usual honorific title for a king as well as for 
a god, since it would have been considered an invidious 
distinction, especially in the Orient, to draw a line be- 
tween the two. The Septuagint uses the word fre- 
quently for the God of Israel, but Paul is more cautious. 
He wanted to avoid a misunderstanding for which no 
possibility existed in the Old Testament. The Jehovah 
who rouses from the dead and the crucified Messiah 
who rises from his grave have to be distinguished with 
particular care by their different names and titles, since 
the old monotheistic prerogative had to be kept intact 
and yet room made for a Messiah who had little in 
common with the Messiah of the Jewish tradition. 


At the Gates of Heaven 

The Jewish Messiah, who played a great role in the 
popular fantasy at this time, was conceived as a 
heroic figure, a sort of idealized and statuesque Judah 
Maccabaeus. Endowed by God with miraculous powers, 
he would defeat the Roman oppressors as well as all 
the old and new foes of Israel. The reign of peace and 
justice was to issue from Jerusalem, and all nations of 
the world would dwell under his scepter. 

It was not this dream of political liberation, of 
national victory and glory, upon which Paul fixed his 
hope, faith, and love. What he desired, with all the 
passion of his burning heart, was another and infinitely 
greater victory, the victory over death. He wanted to 
defeat destruction not only in the form of final extinc- 
tion — this was his highest, but not an isolated, aim. 
The same destruction as in death was hovering around 
him all the time, spoiling, debasing and constricting 
his inner life. Law and lust (Super-Ego and id- 
tendencies) were both active within him. "I agree with 
the law of Jehovah as to my inner nature, but I see 
another law in my members; and it fights against the 
law of my mind and I get bound by the law of sin which 
is in my members" (Romans VII: 22,23). Sin, con- 
flicting with law, fetters the inner life; death is the 
reward of sin, sin is death (Romans VII: 12, VI: 23; 

VIII: 3). 

All the triumphs of the Jewish Messiah were of no 


Masks of Love and Life 

avail to find the way out of this dreadful labyrinth 
which led to death whichever way one went. 

True, there were gods who held out a different 
promise to their believers. They had been worshipped 
for a long time, longer than any history or tradition 
could tell; some of them stayed in their comparative 
obscurity, but recently their cults had attracted a wider 
attention, especially among those who, like Paulus, 
were not fully satisfied with the old, traditional re- 
ligious rites of their country. Most of the pagan 
national gods had lost much more prestige than Jehovah 
(the Jews being exceptionally headstrong people) and 
many turned instead to the rather frigid official Roman 
worship with their religious emotions turned toward 
these old-new gods. 

Most of them had some characteristic traits in com- 
mon, and the tendency of the time ("Syncretism") was 
favorable to putting more emphasis on these than on 
the differences. So it happened that they merged 
frequently, in spite of the divergences in their ritual, 
their priests, emblems, and even their names. 

It was characteristic of this development that the 
worshippers did not consist of the inhabitants of a 
certain country or city, of the members of a family or 
tribe, as it had been the custom with the national gods; 
instead of these traditional conditions, admittance was 
made on the basis of a rite of initiation to which the 


At the Gates of Heaven 

candidates had to submit. Only the initiated, the 
"mystes" could participate in the ceremonies. "Mystery 
religion" means simply "reserved for the initiated"; 
and its ritual was not necessarily, although quite often, 
veiled in secrecy for outsiders. 

These gods, pictured as beautiful youths, died a 
violent death; they were killed by a wild beast, hanged 
on a tree, torn to pieces, or castrated themselves 
(Adonis, Orpheus, Dionysos — Zagreus, Attis, Osiris) . 

Their death is the cause of lamentation and mourn- 
ing among worshippers, especially women. In the end, 
the dead god rises from his grave, and the laments 
turn abruptly to shouts of triumph and jubilation. 

All these rites, including the initiation, contain 
symbolic acts expressing the rebirth of the worshippers 
by way of their identification with the dying and resur- 
rected god. The resurrection is considered as the pledge 
of immortality, the mystes are called (in Attis worship) 
"the saved ones of the god," and "liberation from all 
evils" is the happy message solemnly announced to 


In the times of Paulus, these mystery-cults had cut 
themselves entirely loose from their local origins and 
spread freely over the empire, especially the Orient. 
They gained an increasing hold on the minds of the 
philosophical searchers after truth as well as of simple 
people who wanted a life of eternal happiness. The 


Masks of Love and Life 

various complaints of historians, moralists, and satirists 
furnish an indirect, but sufficient evidence of their 
increasing popularity. This spirit which pervaded his 
time must have made itself felt to the sensitive mind 
of Paulus, who was born and bred near one of its focal 
points. No doubt he rejected it with all the fanaticism 
of a monotheistic religious zealot. 

A wide, seemingly unbridgeable abyss separated him 
from the mystery religions. This self -resurrected youth 
pretended to be a god in his own right. To the pious 
Jew he was identical with the Baalim whose worship the 
Bible condemned in no uncertain terms. The slightest 
concession in this direction would have meant to Paul 
apostasy from monotheism and a lasting separation 
from his people. He refused, all his life, to consider 
anything leading to these steps. He could not accept 
any other God but Jehovah; yet the identification of 
himself with a mortal could not help to absolve him 
from death and sin. 

These mystery rites and ceremonies retained still a 
strong flavor of primitive magic in spite of the refined 
interpretations and the symbolic significance that were 
eventually given them. The resurrection, produced by 
way of magic acts and formulas, was closely linked to 
the resurrection of nature, the return of fecundity, the 
rebirth of the sun and similar joyful events, in which 
the Apostle was not especially interested. The moral 


At the Gates of Heaven 

liberation for which he hankered was not quite absent; 
it was expressed by the earnest demand that the initi- 
ated should stand before his God with an unsullied 
mind and body, and should, therefore, abstain from 
manslaughter and sexual impurity. Yet, all that was a 
vague and uncertain background, considered more im- 
portant as an aid for the success of the ritual, rather 
than for its own spiritual value. 

Then something happened; it may have happened 
right in the presence of the future Apostle, but he was 
not aware of it while it happened — which is the usual 
pattern of great events. It took him a long time before 
he began to understand what enormous significance 
this incident had for him, and, through him, for the 

A Prophet or Rabbi or Miracle-worker had been 
crucified by the Roman authorities for high treason 
because they thought that he intended to make himself 
King of the Jews. Some of his countrymen, and 
especially his followers, simple people from Galilee, 
believed that he was the promised Messiah. After the 
execution, his disciples, disillusioned and terrified, went 
back home. A man crucified as a criminal and the 
Messiah could not be one and the same person. 

Then came a new impulse from a new source (this 
is not the place to investigate what this new source 
was. "We ought to return to Paulus as soon as possible.) 


Masks of Love and Life 

In the crucified Jesus, the two beliefs which appealed 
most to Paul's emotion and imagination merged and 
became one: the faith of the Gentiles in the divine 
youth whose death and resurrection promised eternal 
life to his believers and the Messianic hope of the Jews. 
The discovery of Jesus as the point where the two 
separate rivers of religious emotion could join and flow 
together, the work of coordination and consolidation 
of elements of different origin was not done by Paul, 
but by other, earlier, believers or perhaps by one of 
them. Nor does any evidence exist as to what extent 
the teachings of his epistles are originally his own, how 
much he owed to the guidance of earlier apostles which 
they bestowed on him after his conversion, or how 
much the older ones owed to him. But if ever a man 
of overpowering personality showed to the world his 
heart bared and divested of all petty disguises; if ever 
the suffering, the troubles and conflicts, the consolations, 
the hopes and the love of a great mind were exposed 
to the eyes of men, it is to be found in Paul's epistles. 
Originality is only a very weak term to designate this 

It took him a long time and cost him a severe strug- 
gle till he was able to listen to the "unspoken speech" 
on the road to Damascus. Here he found the pivot 
around which all the activities of his mind and of his 
life turned. The Messiah, "the first-born of the sons 

C98] I 

At the Gates of Heaven 

of God," had died on the cross. Jehovah had roused 
him from the dead, and with him everyone who was 
willing to identify himself with him. To die with him, 
and to be buried with him, this was the only purpose 
to which every breath of life should be devoted; to 
become one with him was the only way to rise to the 
true life, to defy death forever. The desire for oneness 
with the Crucified One, and to be buried with him in his 
grave {e.g. Romans VI: 2-4) was not a mere play with 
symbols; it was a cruel, dreadful, bloody fact, but it 
was almost entirely divested of the magic ritual which 
had prevailed in the adoration of the dying and resur- 
rected god as practised in the mystery religions. It was 
an act of the spirit, born of the ardent wish for a full 
and true life; it was the craving for liberation from the 
conflicts between desire and the inhibitions of the law, 
a wish quite different from that simple one for pro- 
longed happiness beyond the grave. 

The death you flee from is the reward of sin. The 
death you seek and find any time when you identify 
yourself with Jesus makes the law unnecessary, sets 
you free from sinful desire and leads to life and resur- 
rection. You must do it all yourself with the help of 
Jehovah's grace, but without the "first-born of grace," 
with whom you become one, it cannot be done. The 
actual death makes little difference. Paul had learned 
in his ecstasy the secrets of God — "but if I was in my 


Masks of Love and Life 

body or out of it, I don't know." The final resurrection 
appears on the far horizon of eschatology as a repro- 
duction, enlarged to a grandiose size, of the experience 
that every man can find at every moment of his life. 
The end of everything, revealed by prophetic outlook 
into the future, is the return to pure and unalloyed 
monotheism, God being again "all in all," (/ Corinth- 
ians XV: 24-28). 

This was the solution for Paul, the Apostle, the 
final victory, so far as a final victory was possible for 
him. It brought forth his triumphant cry: "Where, oh, 
death, is thy victory?" (/ Corinthians XV: 55). This 
overwhelming experience, from which every thought of 
Paul starts and to which they all return, has influenced 
his attitude in a highly characteristic, sometimes sur- 
prising, manner. He mentions miracles — "signs and 
miracles" — just by the way, but he puts little emphasis 
on them. The reason for this attitude is not his lack of 
belief, but, compared with the one all-embracing 
miracle of resurrection, the others had little importance 
in his eyes. It does not occur to him to use any detailed 
account of miracles for the purpose of confirmation of 
faith, in strong contrast with The Acts, which is 
constantly eager to endow him and the other apostles 
with the gift of working miracles in the true spirit of 
aretology. Aside from the events on which his faith is 
founded: the last supper, the crucifixion, the resurrec- 


At the Gates of Heaven 

tion, he is not interested in the person of Jesus; on his 
life and his actions he keeps a complete silence, and 
he has surprisingly little to say on his teachings. He 
mentions only some subordinate points, such as the 
question of divorce or the sustenance to be given the 
missionaries by the communities. All essential argu- 
ments are drawn either from the resurrection or from 
the Old Testament. 

How far have the personality of Jesus and the new 
ethical revelations, emanating from his teachings, pre- 
destined him to become the founder of a new religion ? 
Could the confluence of messiah and a mystery-god 
bring results through the death on the cross of another 
prophet and teacher in his place? This is probably the 
most difficult of the problems concerning the origins 
of Christianity. It has no direct relation to our present 
subject. May the source of the stream have been Jesus' 
personality, or the accidental fact that he was the victim 
on the cross for whose deification the time, in any case, 
was ripe. 

A group of men — probably all of them, like Paul 
himself, Jews who had grown up in one of the Hellen- 
ized cities outside of Palestine — had tasted, directly 
or indirectly, of the promises of resurrection and im- 
mortality, held out by the mystery religion. In their 
minds, the Jewish Messiah and the crucified and resur- 
rected God were fused into a unity. To these men the 

[ 101] 

Masks of Love and Life 

person and the teachings of the man whom the Roman 
authorities had executed was but of secondary interest. 
Paulus doesn't seem to have been the founder of this 
group, but its leader in the newly opened missionary 

Those who had been Jesus' actual followers and 
disciples were Palestinian, mostly Galilean Jews, and 
although they accepted the belief in his resurrection, 
they felt differently about their teacher, and venerated 
his words and deeds as they remembered them. From 
this attitude sprang, after a good deal of elaboration, 
the Gospel of Mark, which was soon to be more elabo- 
rated by the two other Synoptics. That these disciples 
and their converts looked with admiring, but distrust- 
ful, eyes on the missionaries to the Gentiles, of whom 
Paul was the foremost, is strongly hinted in the Acts of 
the Apostles and loudly proclaimed by Paul himself 
in his letter to the Galatians. 

Only two acts of religious ritual are, to Paul, of 
grave importance. They had been practised in pagan 
worship, especially in the mystery religions, and by 
some Jewish sects as well. Both had probably been 
adopted by all the missionaries of the crucified Messiah, 
but certainly by none of them more ardently than by 
Paul; one of them was the symbolic performance of 
resurrection (or rebirth) and the other of identifica- 
tion. They were: Baptism and Communion. 


At the Gates of Heaven 

Baptism was originally — except in Egypt — not a 
rite of purification as it was interpreted later, but of 
rebirth. Similar rites by which the initiated was reborn 
into a new life were frequently used by the mystery 
religions. Baptism, the coming out of the water after 
immersion, was the symbolic repetition of the act of 
birth. The psychoanalysts have learnt this equation by 
means of the interpretation of dreams, which contain 
it frequently as a typical element in the language of 
the Unconscious. Being baptized "in Jesus" (or John, 
or even Moses) means getting reborn as a part of him; 
the true baptism, according to Paul, has to be "in the 
death of Jesus" {Romans VI: 3, 4). 

The Apostle had no objection against the baptism 
of the dead, the living being baptized vicariously for 
them (/ Corinthians XII: 29). Natural death was for 
him not the most important event, deciding and re- 
solving the issues of life. What mattered more was the 
identification with the crucified and buried Jesus since 
this was the only hope to rise with him to life. If 
baptism could help to come nearer to this identification, 
the ceremony of symbolical rebirth should be open for 
the dead as well as for those who still walked the earth. 

The sacred meal is one of the oldest institutions, 
going back to times before the development of religion, 
to the truly "dark ages" of totemism. It is the most 
naive, but also the most intense, way of identifying 

[ 103 ] 

Masks of Love and Life 

oneself with another being, by eating his flesh and 
drinking his blood. It means being unified with him 
as the child at the breast becomes one with the mother. 
The bread and wine has been designated by Jesus, in 
the expectation of his imminent sacrificial death, as his 
body and his blood; Paul says so (/ Corinthians 
XI: 23-25), being here in full accord with the Synoptic 
Gospels. The sacramental eating and drinking survived 
as an act "in memory" of Jesus. The substitution of 
bread and wine for flesh and blood had become long 
ago a rite of many pagan (mystery) religions, and was 
probably not quite extinct among the Jewish people. 
Rites of such venerable age are apt to be widespread and 
long-lived. The greatest change, made possible by 
symbolic substitution, was that the metaphysical victim, 
whose flesh and blood was consumed by the worship- 
pers, consented expressly to the act, blessing or — as in 
the case of Jesus — even ordaining it. This has hardly 
been the case in the primitive original form of the rite. 
At all events, these symbolic rites, survivals of the 
oldest methods by which men tried to tie the un- 
known powers to the service of their wishes, were for 
Paulus mere accessories. The real vehicle to reach- 
ing identification and, through its aid, salvation was 
purely and profoundly spiritual. No magic and 
symbolic rites could bind a man's own life to an- 
other's death; the strangest power in which the life- 


At the Gates of Heaven 

instinct embodies itself had to be called in; the power 
of love. 

Paulus does not use the word Eros, which might 
sound ambiguous in the connection, but Agape, which 
represents the idea of love without the sting of desire. 
This love is due Jesus alone, and it embraces him com- 
pletely, not for the charm and immaculate goodness 
which his personality emanates, not for his deeds and 
miracles by which he alleviated human suffering, not 
even for his words revealing on earth the kingdom of 
heaven. All these things are touched on lightly or rele- 
gated to the background in the authentic Epistles. They 
cannot have been of primary importance to the man 
who wrote them. The reason for loving Jesus, and only 
him, was that his own love made the Messiah, the "first- 
born of the sons of God" "the new Adam" "the rock 
which gave water in the desert," willing to die on the 
cross and to be buried for the salvation of mankind. 
This love arouses in those to whom it had been given, 
and who are able to accept and requite it, the longing 
to die, thus mediating the only way leading to resurrec- 
tion and eternal life. Here we have love made free from 
all anxieties and inhibitions; before it all doors were 
springing open. 

No teaching or understanding, no hope and no faith 
can lead to being one with Jesus: love is the only means 
of identification. On this point Paul is most explicit 


Masks of Love and Life 

and emphatic: "love is greater than faith and hope" 
and "even if I have the gift of prophecy and have in- 
sight into all mysteries and into all knowledge, and even 
if I have all the faith so that I can move mountains, but 
have no love, I am nothing" (/ Corinthians XIII: 2). 

This, to the eyes of an outside observer, is the 
greatest feat of about-face that has ever been performed 
among the p. s. p. "The indescribable; here it is done" — 
life and death united by love. 

The law, or as we call it by less forbidding names: 
Super-Ego, conscience, loses its power to forbid, to 
inhibit, to punish. It has no claim and no threat, since 
its task has become superfluous. The sinful desire which 
it had to keep in check: to suppress, to annihilate or, 
when all this had proved beyond its power, at least to 
repress and keep out of the Ego, this desire had ceased 
to exist. Relieved from the struggle and reconciled to 
the Id, the Super-Ego can now assume — or bless and 
encourage — the function which hitherto belonged to 
the Id, and turn, in its own peculiar way, from an in- 
hibiting and deadening force to a life-giving, and even 
creative, one. 

Thus the apostle and saint is born. The Ego does 
not receive any longer its life-impulses from its in- 
stinctual sources in the treacherous guise of desire 
which the law changes into sin and death. Love, high- 
est and purest of the life-impulses alone survives; it 


At the Gates of Heaven 

retains its purity by giving itself up altogether to this 
sole aim, to be the way and the open door leading to 
the final consummation. Life is now no longer life, it 
is a constant dying in becoming one with the crucified. 
Death is no longer death for him who became one with 
the resurrected first-born of God. Paul expressed this 
complicated process in simple and perfectly clear 
words: "For I died by means of the law, so that I will 
live to Jehovah. I have been crucified together with the 
Messiah. I live no longer, but the Messiah lives in me" 
(Galatians II: 19). 


Chapter V 

"It is a nice-looking apple" says Adam "but is it 
wholesome? Is it warranted by the board of public 
health and recommended by the best medical authori- 
ties?" "The serpent says so" whispers Eve. Some faint 
memory of an angry voice that spoke to him in a remote 
past, says "No." So he stands and ponders. 

This is the true story of the expulsion from the 
garden of Eden, without the dramatic curses and 
thunderclaps. The place where Adam and his offspring 
stand interminably, doubting what they might enjoy 
and what not, till after a long hesitation they get so 
confused that they don't know for certain whether 
they want it or not — this place is the lost paradise. 

Self-misunderstanding causes a lot of trouble. With 
the exception of the few perfectly free minds, nobody 
knows the moral code really well under which he acts 
or is kept from acting. There are plenty of divergences 
and contradictions between the proclaimed and accepted 
rules, between the inner voice to which he listens with 


Liberation by Knowledge 

awe and its double to whose precepts he gives merely 
lip-service. Like Lohengrin their miraculous power is 
veiled in their anonymity. Some of them would, like 
Lohengrin, disappear if they were asked persistently, 
"What is your name and origin?" The respect which 
silences such impertinent questions is another of the 
many symptoms of anxiety. 

To quote, as illustration, a characteristic case: a 
woman insists, despite all objections, on interrupting 
her pregnancy, but after having the operation per- 
formed, reacts with depression and other symptoms, 
indicating her self-reproaches and the grief caused by 
the irretrievable loss. She shows an absolutely un- 
founded, but invincible, aversion for the man who after 
a long struggle had yielded to her entreaties. 

A man who wanted to jilt a girl while she was still 
in love with him, and behaved coldly and cruelly to 
her, may go to pieces when she leaves him. The son 
who was openly hostile to his father and waited for his 
death is unable to enjoy the inheritance, squanders it 
in the most stupid manner, and does not regain his 
equilibrium till he has thrown the last bit of it out the 
window. Children find it impossible to abstain from 
blasphemous or obscene speech although their hearts 
tremble and the terror of their words follows them in 
their dreams. Lady Macbeth drives her hesitant hus- 
band to murder the one whom she is unable to kill with 


Masks of Love and Life 

her own hands because the king, "resembled my father 
as he slept;" after the deed she has to live through all 
the horrors of the crime, night after night, in her sleep- 
walking. It was probably quite a surprise for Orestes 
when he found himself pursued by the Eumenides. 

In fact and fiction — that is, in true fiction — almost 
all of the P. s. p. act on innumerable occasions without 
understanding what they are doing nor why they do it. 

This proves, if a proof is still needed, that great 
gaps exist in the self-knowledge of the Ego; the con- 
scious parts of our personality are by no means so 
coherent as we like to imagine, but are torn and split by 
dark fissures like the streams of cold lava. It is hard 
work to fill in these gaps with a new insight and make 
it stick. 

Knowledge ought to be more efficient than that 
when it undertakes the deliverance of the Ego. If the 
frontier between the permissible and the prohibited 
could be ascertained with its help, conflicts and doubts, 
mistakes and transgressions could be more easily settled 
and peace would descend on many troubled souls. In- 
stead of devoting itself to sterile social reforms which 
proceed in a circle and leave the liberty of the mind in 
the end just where it started, the intelligence of the 
P. s. p. ought to devote all energies to the acquisition of 
more and better self-knowledge so as to be guided by 
it finally to the goal of spiritual self-reliance. Of course, 


Liberation by Knowledge 

some special qualifications are needed to assimilate such 
knowledge, but it could be used by many more than 
those exceptional favorites of fate whom the world 
regards with lasting admiration, the rare instances of 
genius, whom it takes generations to produce. The 
fervent and fanatical souls, like Paul, disdain diagnosis 
and treat it cavalierly ("knowledge will be cast aside" 
(/ Corinthians XIII: 8). Their minds are filled to 
overflowing with their own dream of salvation and 
have no place for the cold teachings of science. Knowl- 
edge cannot do what Paul demanded, but it has the 
tendency and sometimes the power to work in its 
humble way toward a more perfectly organized, and, 
therefore, less inhibited Ego. 

The usual method of acquiring this kind of knowl- 
edge is by "intuition," eked out with occasional furtive 
bits of self-observation. The resulting convictions are 
firm, but unreliable since they are much influenced by 
wishful thinking (narcissism). People seeing them- 
selves in their private mirror, say, on the wall, ap- 
pear, if not better and wiser, in any case more inter- 
esting than is their due. The Ego looking in this mirror 
mistakes its Ego-ideal for its own reflection. A less 
easy way, but one somewhat more secure from the worst 
pitfalls, is Self-Analysis, if undertaken seriously and 
patiently with the careful application of all technical 


Masks of Love and Life 

A complete victory over the forces which fight for 
self-deception lies beyond the limits of reasonable hope, 
even if the very best methods are applied to a grade A 
material. Under all circumstances, it has to be a life- 
long struggle. A wrong step once made is seldom re- 
traced. Some comfort may be derived from the fact 
that the most fitting instrument for the acquisition of 
self-knowledge, psychoanalysis, is at present by no 
means finished, fixed or stationary: a great part of its 
value lies in the future; it opens a scientific perspective 
of future development toward greater perfection. Fur- 
ther research will add to its store of insight, heighten 
its effectiveness, shorten its methods, correct some of 
its foundations, whereas intuitive insight always was 
and always will be the same; it is highly effective when 
the constellations are favorable, but it neither progresses 
nor lends itself to the process of correction and verifica- 
tion. It has to be accepted or rejected without further 

In the meantime we must reconcile ourselves to the 
fact that knowledge has a hard task in fighting that 
shapeless monster, anxiety. To study those prehistoric 
giants would be comparatively easy — a sort of psycho- 
logical paleontology — but a double focus, a thing al- 
ways abhorred by science, creates a lot of complications. 
Under one aspect we dig up the bones, measure and 
compare them, as good scientists are expected to do, 


Liberation by Knowledge 

but under the other we find the enormous wild beasts 
alive, blowing fire and smoke out of their nostrils, — 
and their frolics then are much too awesome to allow 
a peaceful, sound, and objective investigation. Their 
menace has a close family likeness to the famous skele- 
ton in the closet which can be met successfully when 
the door of its closet, somewhere in a garret or in the 
cellar or in a lumber room, is found and opened and 
the skeleton dragged out. Exposed to the fresh air and 
daylight, it crumbles to dust and ashes. The question 
is: will the owner of the house be eager to help, will 
he be glad to be delivered from the lurking, grinning 
skeleton and feel properly grateful when the new 
knowledge throws open the doors behind which his 
fears and inhibitions are preserved? In nine times out 
of ten, he will not. His attitude is that of the owner of 
a haunted castle. The spook is a great nuisance, but 
also a mark of distinction, giving evidence of an old 
and noble family-tree, and, after all, he is an ancestor 
to whom certain regards are due. 

The inner danger signalled by anxiety is caused by 
a primitive urge which had to be kept out of the con- 
scious Ego because it was unadjustable and threatened 
to devour everything around it. But before it grew to 
such dangerous proportions it had been a nice little 
imp of an urge, just like all the others, and the pleasure 
which it had yielded at that time was considered inno- 



Masks of Love and Life 

cent. This memory is not kept in consciousness, but it 
is not extinct. The roaring lion had been a lovely 
whelp, a darling pet, although its old charm has turned 
into a danger. 

Neither charm nor harm would matter so much if 
it were possible for the P. s. P. to renounce a pleasure 
entirely, absolutely and for all time, but resignation is 
an adversity the sweet uses of which are much over- 
praised. The bargain by which a present frustration is 
accepted in exchange for the promise of a future gain 
is never really popular. So there are strong motives at 
work for avoiding the knowledge which would tear out 
the opposition to a final resignation, root and branch. 
Lost years, a spoiled life, indissoluble bonds, organic 
illness, and many other motives are standing like im- 
pregnable walls against the inroad of a painful knowl- 
edge. To storm the walls and level them with no other 
weapon of assault than pure intellect would be hope- 
less. It is necessary to appeal to certain instincts which 
are willing to range themselves on the side of reason. 
But when the battle is over and the victory won, the 
useful ally may become a new tyrant. 

The extent to which the mind is firmly rooted in its 
tracks may be experienced without special psychological 
training. Nothing else is necessary than to observe the 
behavior of people who come to ask for advice. In 
listening to their anxious queries, it is easy to discover 


Liberation by Knowledge 

that they have already made up their minds about what 
advice they want. If you comply with their unexpressed 
wishes, they may declare that they are surprised at your 
point of view, but are quite ready to be convinced that 
you are right, and they will go home with cheer and 
gratitude in their heart. Of course, a conscientious and 
responsible person cannot bring himself to use such 
subterfuges. He will try to find out what is the best 
and suggest it. However, it will come to the same 
thing in the end; for they will do what they originally 
wanted to do, if advised to go ahead with it, and if 
they are counselled against it, they will find another 
"more competent" adviser. 

Another recipe out of the same drawer: A man who 
wants to flatter a fellow p. s. P.-inhabitant should use 
neither astuteness nor imagination. It would only 
cramp his style. All he must know is what the other 
wishes to be praised for, and to ascertain this he needs 
no cunning artifices since it is revealed to him in big 
letters on the slightest provocation. This sought- for 
praise he has to repeat infinitely, with slight variations, 
and he need not feel afraid that the monotony may 
become wearisome. 

These are trivial examples; they are meant to be so 
since it is their triviality which demonstrates how un- 
usual the triumph of the truth in the matter of self is, 
even when it is matched against nothing more than 


Masks of Love and Life 

ordinary vanity. It gives an idea of the situation arising 
when it is a question for which great courage is needed 
if it has to be answered correctly. In spite of all that 
it would be a cynical exaggeration to call the P. s. P. 
devoid of the sense of truth. Offensive as it is to them, 
on many occasions, they recognize in it the element of 
inner freedom without which they could not breathe. 
It may be a thin thread but it is interwoven with all 
parts of their lives and holds them together. When it 
snaps, their Ego falls apart. 

An old story tells about the man who wanted to 
know the most powerful being in existence. He first 
went to the highest oak, but the tree said "No," the 
wind was more powerful and could blow it down. So 
he went to the wind, but he said the mountain was more 
powerful for the storm's worst furies couldn't shake it. 
He went to the mountain, but the mountain said: "An 
animal is more powerful than I am; it gnaws my in- 
sides and I cannot hinder it." So the man went to see 
this animal and he found that it was a tiny mouse. Is 
knowledge the little mouse? 


Chapter VI 

Several thousands of years have left us illuminating 
records about the subjects in which the P. s. P. of by- 
gone times were interested. It seems that a considerable 
part of their thinking, talking, and writing has been 
devoted to love, or to use a less ambiguous and more 
comprehensive term, to matters concerning directly or 
remotely the affair or affairs of mating. In these records 
love, sometimes under the alias of sex, has been glori- 
fied and vilified, called the crown of life and the 
instrument of death; became subjected to profound 
philosophical and metaphysical speculations; finally, 
following the scientific currents of modern times, it was 
investigated by research methods of diverse sorts. 

The resultant psychological insight is not impres- 
sive. The viewpoints of the luminaries differ widely 
and even the fundamental facts are still controversial. 
He who wants to learn about love must not appeal to 
science, but has to put himself in the hands of other, 
less factual guides. Art is the oracle that reveals these 


Masks of Love and Life 

secrets, but like most oracles it speaks in symbols rather 
than in a plain language which could be understood 
by ordinary people in the ordinary way. Science, on the 
other hand, when it talks of love, sounds suspiciously 
like a small town reporter's interview with a movie star. 

Why is it that civilization and scientific progress 
have worked less change in this field than in any other 
one? The extent of our knowledge about the physi- 
ology, biology, and endocrinology of mating has in- 
creased enormously over that of a scant hundred years 
ago. Yet, when the wise and enlightened men of 
science begin to proclaim what they know about its 
psychological problems, their words are either common- 
place or they become a bashful muttering as in the case 
of a child when it has to use "bad" words before adults. 

The primitive, and for that reason almost general, 
habit of seeing fellow-creatures in the likeness of one's 
own predilections is nowhere more powerful than in 
matters of this sort. It would not be an exaggeration 
to say that every single individual knows only one 
manner of mating; namely his own — and that not very 
well. Most of the p. s. P. are but dimly aware of what 
they really want, but they feel absolutely certain that 
all others want the same. The resulting combination 
of surreptitious but precise knowledge with vague and 
not fully conscious longing is confusing like a composite 
made of an expressionistic portrait and a photograph. 

[118] ' j 

The Mending of Shadows 

The image which every one sees of himself in the 
pose of a lover presents but a fraction of the true emo- 
tions in the original. To love and at the same time to 
know how one loves or wants to be loved and why it 
happened to be just that way and wherefore nothing 
else would do instead — that would mean to be and 
not to be. Anyone who accomplishes this feat would 
become automatically a great psychologist — his own 
Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Proust, and Freud rolled 
into one, but it is as impossible as kissing one's own 
elbow. The p. s. p. have during untold generations and 
with an incredible amount of energy beautified and 
raised desires of this kind to more and more remote 
and obscure regions of the mind. They cannot be ex- 
pected to give up the fruit of such efforts at the drop 
of a hat. They are, if necessary, willing to let in the 
primitive, untamed, dangerous, and mean beast, but 
they don't want it to form part of their angelic vision 
of themselves as lovers and beloved ones. Love to the 
manner born is expressed best by photographs of bride 
and groom, with a sustained smile, expressing tender- 
ness and eternal inanity on their face. 

On the other hand, the high explosive of real pas- 
sion is apt to produce sudden flashes of insight which 
are ruled out at ordinary times, but they last as long as a 
lightning flash, and are swallowed up again by darkness. 

Since the minds of the P. S. P. are built that way, it 


Masks of Love and Life 

is not surprising that few of them, outside of the 
literary profession, have anything worthwhile to say 
about love; it is all cautiously embalmed in theories 
and is as lively as a stuffed monkey. 

For the observer from a distant planet, the problem 
presents other difficulties. He finds himself faced with 
an endless variety, a series of disparities and contrasts; 
it seems hopeless to study them all and senseless to 
choose at random between them. Some examples of 
attempts made at classification are: heavenly and earthly 
love; sacred and carnal; ideal and vulgar; love eternal, 
love temporal, and love a la minute; love proclaimed in 
the world by song, and love hush-hushed by manners 
and morals; love as the origin of ethics, or as the source 
of sinfulness; normal and perverse love; love chanted in 
church and love peddled in the streets; violent and 
tender love; dramatic and lyric, tragic and comical; 
Platonic and bedridden love. Venus Urania and 
Aphrodite Pandemos, criminal love and love enforced 
by law, selfless and exclusively self-centered love; prac- 
tical and transcendental; purely sexual and guaranteed 
100% pure sex-free — and a hundred more types. 

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. The external 
observer will admit that he knows as much about the 
feeling of bacteria and other animalculae when they are 
performing the business of mating in their simple ways 
as about the laws which rule the passions and sensa- 


The Mending of Shadows 

tions of the p. s. p., in their more complicated arrange- 
ments. He will be wary of one-sided opinions and 
hasty generalizations. 

Only few legitimate statements remain. The first 
would be that all mating, with few and insignificant 
exceptions, is done in groups of two and no more. The 
age, size, sex reactions, and the mental attitudes of the 
mating individuals are variable, but their number is 
constant. This forms an obstacle to gregariousness 
among the P. s. P. The bond of primitive sexuality, 
which unites two individuals, cannot be enlarged be- 
yond that number without losing some of its zest. In 
spite of the frequency of changes or of simple promis- 
cuity, the mating each time is done in pairs. The early 
social organizations — clans, tribes — have to be built 
up against this tendency with great energy by those 
forces which permit a wider range of combinations. 

Although the rule is against more than two, there 
may be less which, for not too strictly mathematically- 
minded persons, amounts to one. Even when we set 
aside the forms of infantile sexuality and the return to 
it (regression) under pathological conditions, the 
adult's (and still more the adolescent's) love-life 
taking place in a single person is a too widely popular 
phenomenon to be treated by disdainful silence. 


Masks of Love and Life 

Before chaste ears the name must not be hinted 
Of what chaste hearts won't let themselves be stinted. 

Says Mephistopheles: 

Man darf das nicht vor keuschen Ohren nennen, 
Was keusche Herzen nicht entbehren koennen. 

— Goethe, Faust, Part I. 

To obey the urges of Eros in short order and to 
release the tension without waiting for a partner is 
almost obligatory at epochs when the desire is hot and 
the youthful explorer has not yet discovered that adult 
sexuality is in fact an open door. However, those who 
trust themselves too far on this bypath are in danger of 
not finding their way back; they get deeper into the 
seclusion of fantasy-life than is good for them. To 
be independent of a frustrating reality and exempt 
from its obstacles and postponements are among 
the fascinating, but fatal, presents out of the box of 
Pandora. What else but fantasy deserves to be called 
by this name, meaning "the bringer of all gifts?" It 
is the strangest fact about the P. s. P. that Fantasy- 
Pandora is the Lady Bountiful who fulfills every wish — 
except for strength of will and character. Especially in 
the realm of Eros is her magic power almost unlimited. 
Adding the judicious use of certain physiological re- 


The Mending of Shadows 

sponses, she produces every desirable effect, every sort 
of erotic gratification. Her resources replace all that 
reality can give or, eventually, insert themselves into 
sober and factual situations and change them into a 
merry carnival. She can, for a time, blot out the un- 
welcome and harsh aspects of reality, or supplement it 
where it lets too much to desire or just soften its 
austerity. Only by compounding facts with fancies the 
interplay of mind and matter is made possible. Man's 
peculiar world is not made of realities which end where 
the fantasy begins or vice- versa; the two are inter- 
mingling from the start to the finish (at least for the 
"lunatic, the lover, and the poet" — and who doesn't 
fall into one of these categories ?) Not the least part of 
love's wide and well-deserved reputation is due to its 
close and indissoluble alliance with fantasy. 

Imagination stands ready to serve all urges impar- 
tially, the innocent and approved one, simply and 
openly; the others, in a roundabout way under the 
protection of camouflage. Although it has only a few 
stereotypes at its command, their individual variations 
produce the semblance of an inexhaustible variety. It 
builds up dreams or day-dreams, produces flashlight 
pictures or long drawn-out serial stories, and uses 
intricate devices of eyewash and make-believe. 

The fantasies provoked by the necessities of the 
body are the least elaborate ones. They throw a sop to 


Masks of Love and Life 


the momentary desire and leave the mind exactly where 
it was before. Consequently they don't interfere much 
with reality and their existence ends with the need 
which produced them. A hungry man will in fantasy 
partake of the most luscious dishes, but he who eats 
mouldy bread, however deeply he may relish it, cannot 
by any stretch of imagination make it taste like pate 
de foie gras. This sort of magic swindle is the exclusive 
privilege of Eros. 

The fantasies belonging to the family of Eros are 
from their earliest beginning coupled with a bit of 
reality, an actual, stimulating and delightful feeling of 
the body, a pleasure experienced on some specially 
sensitive spots. Every thumb-sucking baby soon learns 
how to combine with the physical, pleasures of its first 
flight of fancy, not to mention other practices of the 
age of innocence which are looked at askance or are 
overlooked by parents and nurses. This mixture of the 
pleasures of body and mind persists for the rest of life. 
The sensation of the body which accompanies the 
fantasy becomes normally less obvious, sometimes in- 
finitesimal and eludes self -observation. In any case, it 
has the capacity for growing through the whole gamut 
of self-excitement up to the highest pitch of orgasm. 
This big or small patch of stimulation is the soil from 
which the erotic fantasies, in the widest sense, draw 
their strength and vitality; it makes them resistant and 


The Mending of Shadows 

adaptable, gives them blood and body, whereas those 
which have to live on a diet of thin air attain but an 
empty and transitory substance. 

Erotic fantasy, from its early association with 
realities of body-sensations on intimate and confidential 
terms, becomes a sturdy growth; when the time comes 
for the active love-life of maturity it unites and organizes 
the old with the new ways. It is a vain endeavor to dis- 
tinguish sharply between delusions and facts which are 
inextricably intermingled. Like the angels in Jacob's 
dream, these fantasies mount and descend on the ladder 
leading from earth to heaven; they have a share in 
shaping the affairs of the P. s. P. on all levels of human 
endeavor. Their bonds hold society together and give a 
zest to civilization. Not only myth and art and religion, 
which may be called fantasy's first-born children, but 
science and law as well, however bone-dry and matter- 
of-fact they look, owe to her their life and first 

A list of the tricks and devices by which fantasy 
and facts make up to each other would be endless. The 
dosing too — how many drops of the one to a spoonful 
of the other — undergoes an infinity of variations. An 
extremist, a philosopher, for instance, could maintain 
that "facts" consist only of a few perfunctory impres- 
sions of the senses, and that all the rest is done by 
creative fantasy — in other words, by Eros. 


Masks of Love and Life 

Our present interest lies in some of the more 
specific experiments of the alchemy of facts and fancy. 
What happens on every stage of the erotic encounter, 
from the first timid glance to the ultimate consumma- 
tion? Everyone becomes the ideal when regarded 
through love's telescope; to the unarmed eye these 
masterpieces of nature appear as ordinary run-of-the- 
mill products in attractive shapes. (T. Nestroy: Das 
Madel aus der Vorstadt") Fantasy adds to desire all 
the stimulating qualities which truth doesn't concede. 
These falsifications are not only the results of un- 
quenched desire, but also of jealousy or narcissistic self- 
expansion, of snobbism in vulgar, and of compassion 
in very noble, souls. A similar situation, but one already 
on the verge of losing balance, arises when the real 
partner is purposely ignored, that is, is used as a stand-in 
for the desired, but unattainable, love-object. 

The ability of tempering the wind of stern reality 
to the lamb shorn of its gratification, by means of 
fantasy, explains the riddle why the most imperative of 
human drives is on so many occasions more easily 
satisfied than its less exacting brothers. For this reason 
the part that Eros plays in human life is so often 
underestimated. Those who look only on its impact on 
the reality-basis can see no more than a minute 
fraction. One has to observe what happens off-stage, 
as well as the action behind the footlights. "What 


The Mending of Shadows 

does he know of England, who only England knows!" 
It is a pity that we do not have more control over 
the working of our imagination! How it would simplify 
matters if we could command it to build up its illusions 
in favor of our Ego-approved love-relations, as we can 
be inveigled into the spell of another's imagination — 
provided that this other man is a poet, a master of his 
art. But fantasy, the most efficient handmaiden of love, 
is also its most despotic and whimsical tyrant. It looks 
like a bit from the Arabian fairy tale: Aladin's lamp 
is ready at hand, and the djin, its slave, appears when 
called by it, but he performs our commands in his own 
wilful, independent, and all too often unwelcome way. 
One of the best fields for the study of the influences 
of fantasy and of its peculiar tricks is that of the so- 
called perversions. Besides, they are a unique spectacle 
of general interest and show to a conscientious observer 
of the P. s. P. much that elsewhere remains invisible. 
The prejudices are superfluous impediments when we 
have once and for all accepted the fact, that our s. P. is 
very strange indeed. 

No sharply drawn line divides "perversion" from 
"normality" — whatever that word may mean. The 
progress from the earlier, infantile, and semi-infantile 
phases of sexuality is often halting, and results in a 
broken and irregular front; some formations lag be- 
hind or prefer to loiter on the way, coming eventually 


Masks of Love and Life 

to a full stop at an intermediary station. It all depends 
where the maximum of pleasure and the minimum of 
resistance can be found. A marked preference for one 
of these half-way stations (called fixations) is the basic 
material for the perversion which is fashioned out of it 
by a process of enlarging, exaggerating, combining, 
ornamenting, and collecting all sorts of fanciful dis- 
torted memories. The genital act is abandoned, or 
becomes a side-line, and in its place, a multifarious 
host of extravagant forms comes to the fore. Norman 
Douglas tells in one of his autobiographical books 
about a notorious panderer of Naples (those were the 
good old days when the reputation of Naples of being 
one of the least straight-laced places in the world at- 
tracted customers from every quarter of the globe) who 
confessed to him that after all the grotesque and singu- 
lar inclinations of his clients within his experience, 
including the wish to have an affair with Mount 
Vesuvius, he was still faced with new and unheard of 

Among those scientific habits which it is most 
important to ignore, the overvaluation of nomenclature, 
together with the neglect of the content, deserves special 
mention. A classification, so to speak, a Linnean system 
of the perversions, is of no use; all attempts to bring 
it up to date by assiduous fabrication of new Greek 
terms have failed. The manifestations of Eros cannot 


The Mending of Shadows 

be kept in pigeon-holes, and the so-called perverse ones 
are harder to arrange in apple-pie order than the rest. 
When they don't fill the play-bill of a person's sex- 
dream, they may still precede the main piece as a "lever 
de rideau" (rising of the curtain), or follow it as a 
light farce. Sometimes they appear in their primitive 
crudity, sometimes so well wrapped up or elevated to 
such heights that they are escaping recognition. 

An exhibitionist, for instance, is by no means simply 
a man (there are no female exhibitionists in the strict 
sense of the term) who gets stimulation, and eventually 
satisfaction, by exposing his genitals to the view of 
others, as the customary definitions will have it. If it 
were so, no exhibitionist would have to face social 
ostracism or legal persecution. You would take him 
aside — when he is leaving the court-room will be your 
best opportunity — and tell him: "You are a fool to 
take these awful risks. Why not try to find a girl-friend 
who for love or money is perfectly willing, behind 
closed doors, to look for hours at any part or posture of 
your body which you deem desirable to exhibit?" 

Excellent advice, no doubt, but of no value to him, 
or he would have found it out for himself. He knows 
dimly that what he wants is something different, even 
if he cannot formulate it. That is, his urge realizes, 
even if reason doesn't acknowledge it, that something 
else is needed to give his "exhibitionism" the desired 


Masks of Love and Life 

effect. His excitement and voluptuous feeling depend 
entirely on the overwhelming impression a compound 
of terror, awe, admiration and stimulation — which, as 
he expects, the sight of his genitals makes on the sur- 
prised and astonished female. He is allured by the 
triumphant conviction — whether true or illusory makes 
little difference to him — that the fascination irradi- 
ating from the sight of his genitals is so staggering that 
a single glance upsets the mental balance of any woman 
beholding them. How irresistible, says his exultation, 
must be their magic power when their appearance pro- 
vokes these overwhelming emotions. 

Exhibition is but a means to an end, and this consists 
in the triumph of the megalomanic penis-proud boy 
over all obstacles and disappointments. 

The only right manner of dealing with an exhibi- 
tionist I have ever heard of, was that of which an actress 
and lady of rich experience told me. She was molested 
several times in the street by the same exhibitionist, but, 
instead of threatening him with the police she said, 
complacently: "Go away! I am not interested. I know 
all about 'that'." She never saw him again. 

Over, on the other side of the tracks, where those 
dwell who want to see, not to be seen (they are called 
now by a highly polished Greek name "Skop- 
tophilists," but Peeping Toms was much better) another 
of those current over-simplifications exists which is not 


The Mending of Shadows 

less misleading. Neither the act of seeing in itself nor 
the object they look at is of primary importance. The 
irresistible attraction lies in the peculiar condition under 
which their peeping is done. They are out for spying, 
not for looking. 

Said an analysand of mine: "Why, for heaven's sake, 
have I to stand like a fool and stare at the lighted win- 
dow over the way to catch a glimpse of the woman 
there as she is undressing when I can any time look at 
my wife who is every way more attractive?" 

The answer is that only those sights arouse his 
interest which he is not supposed and not allowed to 
see — the forbidden fruit. To watch a woman who 
knows that she is observed and doesn't care, has no 
charm for him; it has to be done by stealth, with a 
beating heart, as a prohibited pleasure which gives him 
the guilt and the triumph of a naughty boy. He acts as 
if he were still the child that felt excluded from the 
stirring mysteries of the world of adults around him; to 
be himself invisible and see everything that was kept 
secret became the gist of his voluptuous fantasies. In- 
stead of giving it up on reaching maturity, he holds on 
to the same pleasure — mixed with, and intensified by, 
anxiety — of observing those acts which others want to 
perform in strict privacy. Some portion of this interest 
survives normally; in spite of his own long experience 
almost every man will welcome and use the opportunity 


Masks of Love and Life 

when an accident offers it, to satisfy his curiosity about 
how others — friends or strangers — behave in an 
erotic situation when they believe to be unseen. Who 
has never enjoyed being an unobserved observer? The 
most trivial and perfectly innocent scenes arouse a cer- 
tain interest when they are performed by people who 
are unaware of being observed from outside. A letter 
addressed to a stranger, the paper read by our neighbour 
in the subway, will always stir up a moment's tempta- 
tion. The problem of the "Peeping Tom," turns out to 
be the exaggeration of a quite common trait. 

A third instance: When a sadistic young woman 
meets a maschistic man, wouldn't they be well matched, 
the one fitting exactly to the other's propensity? Not so. 
The sadistic girl wants to pinch a stout man, feel his 
flesh between her fingers and perceive the mixture of 
sexual excitement and pain in his expression. The 
masochistic man wishes to be beaten by a blonde ,tall 
woman with a whip of a certain type. Sundry other 
details which he needs for his gratification are precisely 
fixed in his fantasy. Those two people had better not 
try the experiment; "they couldn't come together, the 
water was much too deep." 

The label "Homosexuality" covers an assortment of 
heterogenous facts and aims, some of them pure as 
Plato's ideals, others obscene as the frenzies of the 
Marquis de Sade. They have but this one thing in com- 


The Mending of Shadows 

mon that they are directed toward persons of the same 
sex. Important as this is, it represents only one of many 
widely different variants of sexual appetite and behavior 
which have gotten bunched together pell-mell. With as 
great a lack of discrimination, individuals are declared 
normal whose sexuality deviates grossly from the regu- 
lar mode; some extravagant or grotesque performances 
are condoned for no other reason but that the partners 
are chosen from the opposite sex. Of course, it is much 
easier to judge by overt acts than to search for secret 
fantasies and deeply hidden emotional responses, but 
such narrowing of the field and neglect of psychological 
facts means begging the question, not answering it. Is 
a man who prefers, for work and play, the company of 
men, who has never taken a more than conventional 
interest in a woman (except his mother) and who now 
and then picks up a prostitute with whom he goes 
through the prescribed movements without great en- 
thusiasm, putting the whole affair out of his mind as 
soon as possible — is such a man leading a "normal 
sex-life" more normal than that of a homosexual ? His 
case history — when there is occasion to write one — 
answers, "Yes." The observer who has had a few peeps 
behind the curtain shielding such a life says em- 
phatically "No." 

Whereas some "normal" — the word cannot be 
written without quotes — men may feel not generally 


Masks of Love and Life 

attracted by women, a great number of confirmed homo- 
sexuals do. They like the atmosphere of women so 
much that they want to share their interests and inti- 
macies. They prefer occupations which bring them into 
constant and close contact with women and they find 
among them their best friends and even sweethearts. 
Flirting is one of their favorite sports and they are very 
good at it, as long as they feel sure that it cannot go 
farther so as to get them into a situation of serious 
demands. In such a case, they stop short and fade out. 
To give their excitement free rein and to follow it up 
to the finish with a woman is denied to them. This last 
consummation is reserved for persons belonging to 
their own sex. 

The "fairy" who imitates the feminine graces and 
gestures, the mannerism of speech, and the modulations 
of the body is not the predominant, but the best-known, 
type, and the popular butt for "virile" jokes. It de- 
serves serious attention that the desirable object for the 
love of so many homosexuals — fairies and others — is 
of a decidedly feminine type; the beloved boy, cele- 
brated and adored from the times of antiquity to this 
day, looks rather like a slim and rosy girl than a young 
man. The desirability of feminine traits has, however, 
a strict limitation; there is one point on which all homo- 
sexuals insist with unflinching intensity: Even the most 
girlish boy has to be undoubtedly masculine as to his 



The Mending of Shadows 

genitals. Without that all his charms would be 

It seems just and fair to turn now to the counterpart: 
female homosexuality. The saying that "what is sauce 
for the gander is sauce for the goose" doesn't hit the 
mark in this case. Female homosexuality is a phenome- 
non in its own right, distinct in its development and 
formation from the parallel affair of men. Many dif- 
ferent types are to be found amongst them, but their 
joys and sorrows, their manner of falling in love and 
out of it and — most of all — their jealousies are of 
quite another nature than those of the male homo- 

However, we had better stop here since this dis- 
cussion seems to be on the verge of becoming a textbook 
or a popularizer. Our few illustrations and stray 
remarks have no high ambition; their purpose is to 
demonstrate some of the peculiarities of the mating 
habits of the p. S. p. without bias and prejudice. Nothing 

The peculiar "fantasy-element" in all these cases 
which infiltrates every single element, lending it the 
color and warmth that makes it stimulating, was de- 
termined in the earliest stages of love-life, during 
childhood. Regarded from the side of this origin, 
"fantasy" and "reconditioned memory" are interchange- 
able expressions. 


Masks of Love and Life 

Who is in fantasy a pervert may keep up what 
looks like a perfectly normal behavior when he has to 
deal with the actual situation. Jean Jacques Rousseau 
confessed it whereas a numberless host of his "fellow- 
travellers" have kept it as their most guarded secret. 
While he was living with his humble bedfellow, and 
begetting children by her, his real sexual life was else- 
where, in the fantasy of being "at the knees before a 
domineering mistress and receiving punishment at 
her hands." 

Even without the countless transitions and grada- 
tions from "normal" to "pervert" it would be evident 
how much the two have in common by their tendency 
to adulterate facts with fancy. Normal sexual desire is 
almost as firmly fixed to its personal and strictly defined 
goal as the abnormal one; both keep in their prescribed 
channels, obedient to the norm laid down by fantasy 
and memory together, under which they started. Some 
of these channels allow the flood to move right ahead; 
others force it to follow a meandering course. In both 
cases the psychological necessity — the Ananke, as the 
Greeks called it — will be equally inevitable. The 
normal John Doe has a definite picture of what he must 
have to satisfy his wishes to the full, even if he doesn't 
know it himself, and this conscious ignorance of what 
he wants will not cause the least ambiguity in his 
reactions. Anything else offered in its place would dis- 


The Mending of Shadows 

appoint him if fantasy did not mend it. His schedule 
of demands comprises not only the color of hair and 
eyes, the voice and the figure, the physical and mental 
traits of the unknown beloved, but also the situation in 
which he wishes to meet her the first time and her 
conduct, and, last not least, the rhythm, andante or 
furioso, with accelerations or retardations, by which 
the love-making is to proceed. These demands are 
hardly ever fully met, the world not being rich nor 
chance kind enough. Yet, they are met, or what is the 
same thing, seem to be met. Without this grandiose 
phantasmagoria, the s. P. would be depopulated long 
ago, or the human race would never have been human. 
The gentry, in the last act of A Midsummer-Night 
Dream, make fun of the clowns and their love-acting in 
the play, but they acted much more absurdly in the 
forest when delusions made and unmade their loves. 
"The best in this kind are but shadows; and the worst 
are no worse, if imagination amends them." 

Fantasy does its work unbidden sometimes getting 
highly active against our will, at other times remaining 
absolutely inert and refusing to be roused by the most 
subtle stimuli. All this depends on what is going on 
outside the pale of the conscious mind and its will- 
power; the poor Ego can do no better than to take what 
it gets, and like it. By good luck it is easily duped. Who 
can predict what will impress him and what will leave 


Masks of Love and Life 

him indifferent, or when excitement will pop up in him 
like a rabbit out of the hat of the magician? 

Fantasy changes arbitrarily the shapes and colors 
and weights of events; the Ego ought to be constantly 
baffled by the dexterity with which she shuffles the cards. 
For instance: Let a pacifist father tell his son about his 
dreadful experiences in the war, about hunger, pain, 
and death, and an hour later he will catch his boy 
playing soldier in an imaginary foxhole. Has the boy 
got such a heroic and dauntless nature? Certainly not; 
he will howl when he bumps his head against a hard 
piece of reality, but the worst sufferings don't hurt in 
the imagination, whereas they form a wonderful dark 
background for the glamors of aggression, victory, and 
glory. For this reason, the warning effect of a moral 
story, although it is listened to eagerly, is dubious. 

Actual physical pain is a different proposition; it 
presents a rock of reality on which the soap-bubbles of 
fantasy nearly always get wrecked. To adorn it with 
fancies so that some of its bitterness gets changed into 
sweetness is not impossible, but a very extraordinary 
feat. Anxiety functions otherwise; its elements being 
so closely knit together with those of fantasy that un- 
pleasant effects are inextricably mixed with pleasurable 
causes and vice versa. 

Anxiety — tension — is essential for the story-teller, 
whether he spins his yarn for the benefit of an audience 


The Mending of Shadows 

or only for his own consumption, but it has to be 
employed in well-controlled quantities. One grain too 
much of it spoils the whole dish by heightening tension 
to the limit of discomfort. The whole secret of the 
craft of the professional story-teller lies in his profes- 
sional skill in distributing tensions. They must mount 
and fall in a certain rhythm, prescribed by the emotional 
situation which shall be induced. It is the hallmark of 
the truly great novelist or playwright that he possesses 
the sure touch in arousing and abating the affective 
tension, so that the reader, like the listener to a virtu- 
oso's playing on the violin, forgets about the technical 
virtuosity and is attentive to nothing but the sheer 

To sum up: Eros has become a divinity of doubtful 
gentleness to the P. s. P. His domain is a fertile field 
for misunderstanding, a garden of paradise, made up 
of illusions and self-deceptions. Due to early fixations, 
the sex drive is obstinate and exclusive in his choice of 
what it wants — yet again with the help of a little 
wheedling here and mending there, by the aid of 
fantasy, it is willing to accept surrogates and to cling 
to the belief that they are the real thing he wanted. Man 
will go out of his way and give up his natural trend to 
avoid the torments of anxiety, and then again, he will 
run after it because he finds his pleasures to be stale 
without it. He will insist on the search and struggle 


Masks of Love and Life 

for the satisfaction of his wishes and flee in panic from 
the gratification of his strongest desires. 

These are the fundamentals, the a. b. c. of the mating 
instinct as manifested by the p. s. p. In the higher 
reaches, where the results of grandiose psychic exertions 
and achievements are met, these problems become more 
and more complex and intricate. 


Chapter VII 

We had to make obeisance to Eros as the unsaintly, 
but efficient patron saint of learning, poetry, art, and 
religion. To him we owe the, "Ornament of spiritual 
nuptials," by which the drab business of living is made 
colorful and adventurous. Even when his power is 
denied, the grudging admission lurks somewhere that 
everything that has been touched by his hand becomes, 
if not ennobled, at least enabled to play a new role in 
the mind. 

When we forget the baffling variability of erotic 
drives, their special relation to fantasy, and the glorifi- 
cation reflected on them by their cultural values, what 
remains is the same as in the simplest satisfactions, like 
eating and drinking, which, although they seldom 
ascend to the higher regions of the mind, enjoy a well 
deserved, universal popularity. 

Gratification — release of tension — in a word, 
pleasure is the goal common to all instincts lying within 
one sphere of observation. All observation of this sort 


Masks of Love and Life 

means ultimately self -observation. Pleasure is under- 
stood as a primitive, immediate experience by everyone 
since everyone not only knows it at first hand from his 
earliest existence, but has built, willingly or against his 
intention, the best part of his life on it. 

Yet this universal, immediate grasp does rather 
hinder than help when the attempt is made to approach 
its understanding from the intellectual side. The doubts 
and troubles begin when it comes to comparing different 
experiences of pleasure, or to assessing them according 
to a scale of values. Then difficulties multiply when 
pleasure has to be balanced against pain. How much of 
young love's bliss compensates for a night's toothache? 
The oracle of reason becomes still more blurred, as a 
matter of fact, completely obscure when rules for prac- 
tical applications are to be drawn from the various 
descriptions, definitions, and explanations of cause and 
effect concerning pleasure. The simple questions as to 
which is the surest and shortest way to attain it or as to 
how to make it rise from a low level of intensity to a 
higher one remains unanswered. "But evermore came 
out by the same door where in I went." The technique 
of pleasure, the most important of all technical achieve- 
ments, is still crudely empirical. 

It is the most natural thing for every inhabitant of 
the s. P. to go back to the source from which he has 
received pleasure before. But even setting aside external 


From Pleasure . . . 

obstacles, this brings no solution. The trend back to the 
pleasure enjoyed before — we call it regression — is in 
constant conflict with life's progression toward the 
future, and with the expanding growth of the indi- 
vidual. Yesterday's bread may become today's poison. 

Another hurdle in the race for pleasure is its 
complicated structure, combined of different elements 
extracted from the most heterogenous materials; even 
pain is not absolutely excluded, and anxiety is used 
quite often. To find the recipe for manufacturing this 
strange and unstable mixture by way of psychological 
(or philosophical) analysis has been the endeavour of 
the P. s. P. from time immemorial. The hope to learn 
enough to make the production of synthetic pleasure 
ad libitum possible has hitherto proved futile. 

There will always be plenty of undiscouraged 
alchemists who continue their experiments and adver- 
tise their new formula, but the wise men, such as the 
reader and myself, will prefer a less ambitious aim. 
Truth and strawberries taste better when they are small 
and wild and cannot be bought in the market. 

The children of Eros will yield us more information 
about the nature of pleasure than any other group or 
set of drives. Not because they have a sort of monopoly 
for our attention (the "pansexualism" of Psycho- 
analysis is a myth), but because they enter into almost 
any formation of device and pervade it so strongly that 


Masks of Love and Life 

even an infinitesimal, microscopic fraction will give to 
the whole its characteristic flavor. Moreover, those 
instincts which, left entirely to their own devices, tramp 
straightways to their goal, change their monotonous, 
dumb behavior as soon as they get a shot of eroticism. 
They begin to meander, to walk in circles, to stop before 
they reach a goal or to overshoot it eventually so as even 
to change their aims. While they are in midstream (this 
is called "sublimation") they perform many other 
curious tricks, which permit us to study the relations 
between desire and its satisfaction better than the less 
fanciful wanderers toward the goal, irresistibly achiev- 
ing satiety. In short, they are more typically human. 

Life consists in the endless play of combinations 
and the re-arrangement of the basic patterns which lead 
the P. S. P. into the common error of mistaking the 
oldest pleasure for the last discovery. Neither age nor 
experience is a protection against this universal decep- 
tion. Without bothering much about scientific research, 
with no questionnaires sent out nor index cards filed, 
sensible people in all epochs and all climes have 
arrived at the conclusion that the dictates of Eros, 
elusive and illusory though they be, are the main in- 
centive for living. If it were not for the extravagant 
but compelling directions given by him and obeyed 
implicitly under unavailing protest, life would run the 
shortest way to its end. 


From Pleasure . . . 

The actual pleasure is hectic and short-lived. It 
comes in a sudden fit and is gone, with no time given 
to rest and unbend. The possibility of prolonging its 
duration is found not in the present, but in the future 
and the past; the best part of it lies either in the hope 
and in the expectation of its arrival or in looking back 
and reliving it in memory — provided the expectation 
is not too protracted and the memory kept green. This 
goes to show how strong a factor in all that is the 
psychic elaboration or, in other words, the fantasy. But 
no psychic elaboration even when it is mustering all its 
power and emptying its bag of tricks to the bottom can 
stretch pleasure out indefinitely, over its natural length. 
When it is overdone, the thread snaps, the feeling is 
gone and what remains is but a hollow pretense without 

Haste and unreliability are the hallmarks of 
pleasure; when humanity had left behind the simple 
ways of its hairy ancestors it began to feel an un- 
easiness about the inconstancy of its best possession. 
When the unstable elements of the primitive mind had 
succeeded in consolidating themselves into a firm and 
durable pattern of Ego, so that civilization began to 
take a firm root in the mind, the fugitive pleasure 
became out of tune with the new ideal. The emerging 
personality, striving after stability, needed durable 
relations to its world and looked askance at those which 


Masks of Love and Life 

get tied and loosened almost in the same moment, 
however enjoyable the moment was. The first step 
toward the dignity of an efficient organization, that is, 
of an integrated Ego, had to be made at the price of the 
renunciation of impetuosity and of fugitive reactions. 
Each step toward resignation or retardation, taken 
singly and by itself, may have been not too difficult, but 
the burden accumulated and became heavy. Besides, 
the new and not yet quite firmly intrenched Ego must 
be on its guard lest several different attractions try to 
pull it in opposite directions and, unable to agree among 
themselves, will tear it to pieces. Surrounded by these 
conflicts and dangers, the Ego feels that something 
better suited to maintain the continuity of its character 
is urgently needed — and that is how the quest for 
happiness in place of mere pleasure gets started. One 
who belonged to the highest types of humanity, Blaise 
Pascal, formulated it by saying that happiness is the sole 
and unique aim of every act of man "even of those who 
kill and hang themselves." 

When the P. s. P., and especially the more advanced 
groups among them, pin their hopes on happiness, their 
first plan is to use pleasure as the raw material; they 
hope to discover the arrangement of its various causes, 
forms, and degrees of intensity which will produce the 
pattern for happiness. When they find that this doesn't 
work, as they are bound to do, and after all their 


From Pleasure . . . 

experimentations have inevitably miscarried, they try 
to change the nature of pleasure itself. They start to 
trim it here and there, to cast it in a new mold, to sift 
and strain it and treat it with chemicals in order to set 
it free from impurities. Finally, when none of their 
methods have been crowned with success, they turn 
against it and reject it altogether. The ingenious idea 
that happiness may be found by way of renunciation 
of pleasure occurred to more than one weary and 
disillusioned mind. It became the highest truth in 
certain religions and philosophical systems; it has found 
embodiment in mystic thought and in ascetic practise. 

What else is wrong with pleasure? Why did so 
many wise men finally see it not as a means toward 
gaining happiness, but as an obstacle to it, and therefore 
felt obliged to try their hardest to bring it into discredit? 
The closest answer is the humdrum, but practically 
important, fact that pleasure can become a dangerous 
temptation to neglect or to forget entirely the diffi- 
culties and problems of reality. Such insight cannot 
result in anything more important than the warning 
against self-abandonment as detrimental to keeping a 
weather-eye on the world around. A general ban laid 
on pleasure for the sole reason that it is pleasure is a 
quite different affair. 

A motive for the repudiation of pleasure which goes 
farther than its collision with the perfect adaptation to 

[ 147 ] 

Masks of Love and Life 

reality is furnished by the deplorable fact that the Ego 
has to go through a long period of evolution, construc- 
tion, and reconstruction by methods of trial and error 
before it arrives at a sufficient degree of integration. In 
the end, when these changes and growing pains are over 
and done with, the final form is considerably less firm 
and consolidated than it should be and even a good deal 
less than it believes it is. What has been a pleasure at a 
certain epoch may now be felt as a sting or vexation. In 
fact, the situation is more complicated than that, since 
a pleasure in all the later stages retains its former 
quality in the Unconscious, outside the boundaries of 
the Ego, and will never quite cease its endeavor to get 
re-established in its old seat. 

Many variants of this difficulty may occur; some- 
times it is tolerated within the precincts of the Ego 
under a pseudonym, or it has been repressed, but not 
successfully (the case of the psychoneuroses) and its 
derivatives and progeny re-enter by force or fraud. 
What all these situations have in common is the fact 
that they are perplexing to the Ego. On the one hand, 
we have the eagerness for pleasure and especially the 
attraction for those kinds which have a trace of the 
taste of forbidden fruit, or that had been enjoyed in the 
past but are now outlawed; on the other, the danger 
looms of being overpowered and disintegrated by ad- 
mitting and harboring the outlaw. Each swerving from 


From Pleasure . . . 

proper precaution is heralded by anxiety and followed 
by guilt and shame. When the P. s. P. have been taught 
this lesson by long and bitter experience, they are apt 
to become distrustful at the first sight of anything un- 
known that looks attractive and agreeable. They con- 
sider pleasure as a tempting bait which all sensible fish 
had better leave alone. 

Whenever such a conflict is started, pleasure will 
not only prove to be short-lived, but, what is a great 
deal worse, will end in its opposite — in displeasure, 
mental pain, depression, or anxiety. Such a situation — 
brief and brittle, insecure and uncontrollable — cannot 
satisfy the Ego's craving for continuity. The general 
consent of the enlightened P. s. p. asks to have it re- 
placed by another ideal goal for all human wishes. It 
does not matter that the existence of such an ideal state 
of mind is but dimly known and that no method has 
been discovered for collecting data or instituting ex- 
periments for its production. Yet, in intention and 
expectation and in wishful thoughts untroubled by the 
hard teaching of adverse experience, this universal ideal 
of mankind opens a wide, perhaps even infinite, per- 
spective, offering the strongest contrast to the sudden 
appearance and disappearance, the coming and vanish- 
ing of pleasures which are constant in nothing but their 

The course of pleasure is quickly run, and at either 


Masks of Love and Life 

end the genius of extinction stands with its lowered 
torch. All efforts to bring about an artificial pro- 
longation by keeping a precarious balance between the 
ends are in vain. Pleasure itself is less stable than its 
shadow — memory. 

Pleasure is fleeting by necessity, since it either be- 
comes faint and vanishes by the mere lapse of time or 
else it is heightened in its intensity till it throws itself 
into the arms of final satisfaction, where it dies. This 
is demonstrated in the most impressive manner where 
the sway of Eros is lending it its own features; rushing 
onward to the highest pitch anly to perish in it, as in 
the genital orgasm where it reaches its fullest and most 
dramatic realization. Other, banal, pleasures also end 
in full satisfaction, but with them the dramatic fire- 
works of orgasm are missing. They die by surfeit, not 
by their own headlong dash into extinction. 

The end, in whatever way it is accomplished, can 
never be kept far distant from the beginning. Thus, 
the universal quest and question: Is there no chance 
for a pleasure remaining on a static level like a boat 
gliding on an even keel through the tranquil waters of 
temperate affects? That hardly sounds like asking for 
something impossible or paradoxical. On the contrary, 
many people take an occupation or a hobby to their 
heart and are delighted with it and never get tired to 
the last day of their life. The joys bestowed by con- 


From Pleasure . . . 

structing a new philosophical system or by stamp- 
collecting or converting the heathens seem never to 
fade. Generally speaking, the backbone of interest in 
work or play for a great number of the P. s. p. consists 
in its routine. The automatic reliable recurrence of the 
same act works like a rhythmical tune to which men 
move with pleasure. The traditions of such routine and 
their ceremonies are tenacious; they die slowly and 
frequently in the odor of sanctity. Habit is a most 
efficient bond, often outlasting love. 

Everyone knows that repetition, in spite of the law 
of diminishing returns, produces small but reliable 
quantities of pleasure — witness the children who want 
to have the same sort of playing repeated, the same 
stories told, the same jokes cracked over and over again. 
Even the grown-up children, who go to plays or movies 
and read books and magazines, insist on their old, be- 
loved plots and are satisfied with a few immaterial 


All this doesn't prove that pleasure can be long- 
lived; it demonstrates the fact that it can be derived 
more than once from the same satisfactory situation. 
Men like to come back to the former source as the baby 
to the mother's breast; frequent repetition and long 
practise make it easier to drink from the familiar well. 
Such an ability to revive pleasure continually by the 
same means approximates the ideal of lasting pleasure 


Masks of Love and Life 

to happiness, yet, it is never the same thing. The de- 
pendence on externals is too great, which makes the 
whole structure so shaky. Take from the golf player his 
good coordination, from the collector his superfluous 
time and money, and they become the unhappiest 
creatures on earth. Furthermore, such passionate inter- 
ests are apt to change or vanish. When they persist, 
their effect will be a narrow outlook on the rest of life, 
a rigidity of mind which makes this near-happiness a 
doubtful bargain. 

Habit in itself, independent of the content, provides 
pleasure, but it is too thin a trickle to fill a whole life. 

At the other end of emotional experience stands the 
untamed and habit-free kind of pleasure that mounts to 
higher and higher intensities; it leads to a state of 
ecstasy by which all other sensations are swallowed. 
This self -destroying rapture is the trysting-place of Life 
and Death. The sexually mature adult has the chance 
of attaining this final consummation by abandoning 
himself to a complete orgasm, but this again is an open 
door which many are afraid to pass. But for those who 
hesitate, as well as for those who take it by storm, the 
striving after it is openly or secretly, consciously or 
unconsciously, interwoven with every aspect and period 
of their life. 

The physiological side of orgasm gives little insight 
into its psychological content: from this aspect we can 


From Pleasure . . . 

gain no cues to help our understanding. Under very 
similar physical reactions, the intensity of passion and 
the psychic value of the act may oscillate between the 
extremes of a slight, instantaneous release and an 
eruption of such extraordinary vehemence that it con- 
sumes all the energies of the Ego and leaves it empty 
and prostrate. At any rate, it regularly marks the high- 
est point which the waves of passion reach before they 
begin to recede. The situation becomes more proble- 
matic when the orgastic climax is not firmly linked to 
the genital sensations as its ineluctable physiological 
support. It has misled all pre-Freudian observers that 
infantile sexuality, even in its genital forms, has only 
stunted and imperfect approaches toward orgasm. Some 
of these infantile joys later harmoniously fit into the 
normal love-life of maturity; others remain inde- 
pendent. Some of these rebels, after undergoing certain 
alterations and elaborations, grow to the height of 
perversions which replace or distort the genital goal. 
Others, renouncing the trend toward genital orgasm to 
such an extent that they lose entirely the outward 
aspects of sexuality, dwindle like the prehistoric sloth, 
till the fact that they perpetuate certain youthful forms 
of sexual pleasure remains discernible only to the prac- 
tised eye. In their childish gambols, these midget cousins 
of Eros play with substitute-orgasms of a lesser breed. 
The sigh of relief with which the smoker lights his 


Masks of Love and Life 

cigarette, the secret joys of nose-picking or nail-biting, 
the protracted sessions on the toilet, the passionate yawn 
of the well-bred lady when she is unobserved, the 
eagerness of the collector, are instances of "orgasm 
scaled down." 

Some of the p. s. p. do not get further than that. 
They stay so far out of range of real orgasm that they 
don't even know what they are missing. To tell them is 
like describing a sunset to those born blind. The ma- 
jority of those cases are women who mistake their 
frigidity for the normal feminine reaction to sexuality. 
They get the surprise of their life when it so happens 
that they experience the unbelievable. Others, with 
indefatigable zeal, chase the great ectasy which they 
feel almost within their reach. Some of the women who 
are classified as oversexed or even nymphomaniacs are 
frigid in the sense that their response regularly stops at 
the threshold of orgasm. (As a great psychologist of 
the eighteenth century — Crebillon fils — puts it: "que 
ce sont les femmes a qui les plaisirs de V amour sont les 
moins necessaires qui les recherchent avec le plus de 
fureur." ("That those women to whom the pleasures 
of sex are least necessary pursue them with the greatest 
ardor.") Hoping against hope, they are always eager 
to renew the experiment so that almost every man can 
have them for the asking. Afterwards, the inevitable 
disappointment becomes the cause and the instrument 


From Pleasure . . . 

of their revenge. Cold and disdainful, untouched in 
mind and body, they enjoy enticing the man deeper and 
deeper till they get his full self-surrender in exchange 
for the phantom of their own passion. This is the 
dangerous type, the man-eating goddess, with the neck- 
lace of skulls. They leave behind a trail of destroyed 
lives, broken faiths, and mangled destinies. They 
usually end in suicide. 

The male counterpart, the Don Juan type, enjoys 
winning women, not possessing nor holding them. His 
love-life is an unending search after an ideal which he 
sees embodied in one woman after another. But when 
he gets hold of what he desired, the magic illumination 
is turned off, and he finds that he has on his hands the 
same stuff which bored him before. The reassurance of 
his irresistibility and masculine superiority is the only 
compensation for these incessant disillusions; and they 
are not highly valued. The lives of these Don Juans 
usually do not end in catastrophe, Moliere and DaPonte 
notwithstanding. Either they fall in with a woman who 
in her motherly, matter-of-fact way divines their intrinsic 
boyishness through all the glitter and glamor; then they 
marry or rather get married and become good, though 
not strictly faithful, husbands. Or, they become old 
tattlers who enjoy telling the stories of their former 
conquests. Casanova wrote his memoirs. 

A deep drink of orgasm with no dregs in it is not 


Masks of Love and Life 

easily attainable. Absolute satisfaction remains out of 
reach for we never know just how many of the P. s. P. 
have to pay a too high price for it. Yet, the nature of 
man as long as his senses have not been blunted arti- 
ficially, puts it above everything else in life. The salmon 
swimming upstream and the masochist who insists on 
being beaten and tortured are both equally eager to 
sacrifice their ease or pride, and eventually their lives, 
for the enterprise that brings to them final culmination. 
Eros appears here as a severe deity; those on whom he 
doesn't smile are bound to search for his highest gift 
along dark and dangerous roads. Yet all of them rush 
and press on toward the same goal. The difference be- 
tween normal and pervert, sage and fool, just and unjust 
vanishes as they vanish later in face of the inevitable 
end. "And how do the wise die? As the fool dies." 

A typical and not infrequent instance of the crippled 
capacity for orgasm is given by those men who are 
unable to proceed in the full style of adult love-life. 
Against their conscious wishes and the standards of 
their personality, they are only able to execute some- 
thing that adumbrates the real act, but does not get 
further than a sketchy imitation. Immaturity sticks to 
childhood, and at the same time anticipates old age, as 
expressed by the saying: "At six the boy believes that 
the only use of his penis is for urination; at the age of 
sixty, he knows it." 


From Pleasure . . . 

These "old boys" perform, very much against their 
will, a sort of parody of the sexual act. The virile 
power is degraded to an effortless and premature 
dribble — known technically as ejaculatio praecox. 

The feminine forms of impotence — bundled to- 
gether under the name of frigidity — are less obtrusive, 
but not less grave. Unconscious wishes and repressed 
impulses turn into anxiety and produce inhibitions 
which, although permitting the performance, spoil the 
acceptance. Certain slight organic deviations come also 
into play. A great number of women are thus robbed 
of all the joys of their love-life while they have to carry 
all its burdens. 

These few specimens will suffice as illustrations of 
the general rule that by no means do all who set out for 
the final pleasure arrive at their goal. Some are pre- 
destined to come to a short stop. What looks, at first, 
like a straight and open road may turn out to be a blind 
alley, ending at a blank wall. Fantasy offers itself 
eagerly as guide, but leaves those who trust her too 
much in the lurch. By working queer substitutions and 
grotesque transmutations, she gets shame and disgust, 
guilt feeling and anxiety hitched on to the orgastic 
release. In the centre of these tragic and grotesque 
events stands the permanent "divine discontent," the 
eternal reminder that pleasure either dries up like rain- 
drops in the desert or runs to its extinction like a river 
to the sea. 


Masks of Love and Life 

The question, "Why" may be left out. It's just one 
of those enigmatic things. Life, the great sphinx, allows 
us to ask questions, but it does not answer them. Hard 
facts — and this is one of the hardest — do not get 
softened by explanations. 

The "what" offers a fairer playground than the 
"why." We can take our stand at the brink of the sea 
of metaphysical interpretations without getting our feet 
wet. What sort of pleasure is that which has the func- 
tion and the power to end pleasure ? What causes life 
to climb to its highest peak, only to plunge into 
nothingness ? 

Tension which vanishes, suddenly quenched by its 
own force, is a partial extinction of life. The light that 
has burned high gets dimmed, foreshadowing final 
darkness. In the guise of orgasm, death has intruded 
on life. All its variants, the giants and the midgets, the 
straight ones and the crippled are tainted — or, for 
those who can take it that way — elevated by their 
kinship to death. 

This self-abrogation of life is dimly but constantly 
present to the minds of the p. s. p., and while they try 
their hardest to look the other way, they acknowledge 
it in indirect, symbolical signs. Most proficient in the 
circumvention and adornment of the unwelcome truth 
are the religious cults, which have been celebrated by 
many nations and at various epochs; they succeeded 


From Pleasure . . . 

because they used the truth with caution by linking 
orgiastic rites with death, so that both became indis- 
soluble parts of the same unit, but making a trinity of 
them by adding resurrection. To name a few only of 
those which pervaded the belief of late antiquity and 
penetrated into early Christianity: Attis, the self- 
mutilated and resurrected lover, Tammuz, Osiris, and 
Adonis, dying to be resurrected, Orpheus of the under- 
world mysteries, and Dionysos, the lord of divine in- 
toxication, under whose auspices the tragedy was 

The dramatic ritual and the sacrificial drama start 
at the same point and move toward the same goal. Both 
try to propitiate the dark and inexorable deity by cele- 
brating its demonic power; both try to aid man in 
mastering it by way of symbolic repetitions which he 
can perform as free and voluntary acts. But these 
imaginary triumphs are but the shadows of the orgiastic 
union of life and death. Sleep is called the friendly 
brother of death, but orgasm is death itself, hidden 
behind the mask of pleasure but still approached with 

All of the P. s. P. are constantly giving up parts of 
their physical Ego; their life consists of involuntarily 
shedding or forcibly ejecting smaller or bigger particles 
of their bodies. This partial dying is going on all the 
time without provoking strong effects, except when — 


Masks of Love and Life 

as a nine-tenths metaphysical and one-tenth biological 
speculation will have it — the eternal debt of the indi- 
vidual to the genus is paid back in one life-shaking 

Without any biological or metaphysical theories this 
necessity penetrates dimly to the consciousness of the 
P. S. P. Each orgasm makes the foundations of the Ego 
tremble like an earthquake. It tends to throw its struc- 
ture back into the chaos out of which it has been built 
up with so much toil and so many tears. A tidal wave of 
passion is able to break down the ramparts which 
protect the Ego's integration and integrity. Pleasure 
becomes so powerful in its orgastic form that it may do 
away with personality and character and the rest of the 
values which are 2ealously guarded under all other 
circumstances. It is a natural and understandable 
consequence that the p. s. p. have become cautious about 
accepting any kind of intense or deep pleasure with 
which they are not well acquainted; they treat it as a 
Trojan horse which may conceal something destructive 
in its inside. They have become sensitive and attentive 
to the signals of approaching danger, given by anxiety. 
That is why they feel so shy and hesitant when they 
stand in front of an open door. 

Diverse methods have been tried to eliminate or, at 
least, to mitigate this cruel dilemma. To find a way to 
take the sting out of lust, to provide a lasting joy, a 



From Pleasure . . . 

deathless orgasm has been the dream of mankind. The 
religious cults which had been built up around their 
orgastic origin were largely used for this purpose. 
Orgasm was put under divine protection, and in this 
way linked up with higher powers in the fond hope that 
they would be strong and gracious enough to counteract 
the inroads of death. Or the attempt was made to let 
orgasm appear in a less ferocious shape; if it wasn't 
possible to domesticate it, at least to make it look tame 
by surrounding it with a number of legitimate, in- 
offensive, socially acceptable acts and ceremonies. More 
radical and direct methods are in use as well for the 
suppression of orgasm by barring all situations arid 
activities which may lead toward it. As far as external 
realities are concerned, this is a hard, but not impossible 
task. Against the inner danger, however, the strictest 
self -discipline cannot guarantee immunity, since the 
breaking of a high-strung tension can be brought about 
by any kind of emotion, even a sacred one. Another of 
these attempts to get rid of the intruder is its deprecia- 
tion by stressing that the shortness of its duration 
is like that of any ordinary pleasure, only more so. As 
if time and its measurements could count in face of 
moments which last eternities and eternities which pass 
in a moment! 

Since neither the escapist, nor the repressive, nor the 
derogatory attitude has been successful in solving the 


Masks of Love and Life 

problem, the p. s. p. turned with hope and prayer to an 
ideal which would replace or outweigh the dire and 
threatening features of orgasm. Has there anything, 
could anything be thought out that was not by its very 
nature fleeting like pleasure, tainted by the foretaste of 
death like orgasm, and yet dynamic enough to rival and 
to surpass their power over the human mind ? 


Chapter VIII 

The imagination of the P. S. P. has from time im- 
memorial cultivated the habit of placing its paradise 
at the remote and inaccessible poles of human life. 
Marked preference was given to its exits and entrances. 
The situation before birth was pictured as a splendid 
state of isolation, free from wishes and desires, and 
consequently from frustrations and disappointments. 
"The unborn is the refuge of what is born." That means 
that the womb is the last stronghold of wishful think- 
ing. Impartial observation reveals how little of truth is 
in all that. Death and decay do not halt at the mother's 
womb, but enter there as well as everywhere else. Just 
when a subject that can register sensations or feelings 
begins to develop is anybody's guess. Beyond wishes 
and hopes all is dark and doubtful. 

What happens afterwards, from the beginning of 
an independent existence on, seems to lie open before 
our eyes. Impressions are made and create sensations; 
tensions arise and provoke the different urges for 


Masks of Love and Life 

relieving them. This produces a constant exchange 
between inside and outside, a give-and-take between 
the individual and its surrounding world. In the course 
of these interchanges, the pleasant effects of the release 
of certain tensions make themselves felt very early; 
some of them can be produced by an ever-present and 
ever-willing part of the external world with the mem- 
bers of the child's own body. Thus the first, "micro- 
orgasms" are experienced and repeated. 

In this period, the child's own body functions at the 
giving as well as the receiving end, as external and 
internal. This leaves deep traces on the later develop- 
ment. These "archaic" traits are responsible for the 
tendency to treat partners and objects that are no longer 
parts of one's own self, but separate, independent 
beings in the old cavalier manner, using and cherishing 
them under the urge of desire and neglecting their 
existence when the urge has been satisfid. 

Soon the inevitable dualism sets in. The child 
begins to learn that his safety, his well-being, and 
especially his erotic satisfactions are dependent on the 
goodwill of others, prominently of one other person, 
the mother. A love-relation establishes itself, based on 
the repetitious demands of body and mind; in spite of 
their different aims, intensities and developments, 
according to their different origins, they are centred on 
the same person. A network of desires is spun around 



. . . To Happiness 


the beloved figure until the arbitrary coming and fading 
of wishes, the primitive alternation between impatience 
for enjoyment and dull indifference, between finding 
and losing, becomes unsatisfactory. Love demands 

The human race has — who knows how ? — done 
away with the seasonal aspect of genital function. This 
added an important motive to the desirability of the 
constant presence of the sex-partner. Moreover, the 
males soon discovered that they could use the females 
to work for them. 

Just how the struggle among males of the same 
group for the possession of this, in every respect, valu- 
able article began, which ended in the laying of the 
first foundation for human society is a theme for 
psychoanalytic (or sociological, if not anthropological) 
research. Suffice it to state that the final arrangement 
was nowhere, nor could it ever possibly become, entirely 
satisfactory, the sting left by the conflict between the 
first fixation and the necessity of renunciation causing a 
great deal of discomfort and tension. 

Leaving aside origins and first causes we return to 
our observation post. The conflict is visible in many 
of the contradictions in human love-life. It causes much 
misery, anxiety, and heartache, but we owe to it the 
miracle that the higher forms of desire could spring 
from those brutal or even brutish origins. This develop 


Masks of Love and Life 

ment of sublimation is carried so far that to gain the 
love without its gratification by orgasm is often pre- 
ferred to the orgasm without love. 

In the urge to bestow, to shed, to let flow out 
freely the precious parts of the body and of the mind, 
the sacrificial trend of love, its longing to transgress 
the confines of the self, becomes manifest. Yet, along 
with it, as a dark undercurrent, goes the gratification of 
the self-seeking pleasure which takes no interest in 
personality and demands nothing else but those 
attributes, acts, and movements of the object by which 
the pleasurable sensations are stimulated and heightened 
to the orgasm. 

The Ego is confronted with a tough problem when 
it attempts to reconcile these conflicting trends and to 
coordinate the impulses, for better or worse, with its 
own principal aims: integration, organization, respect 
of reality, and social awareness. It had to learn many 
new tricks and to abandon old ones, to build up a 
complicated system of rules in order to achieve some- 
thing that looks like a consolidation. 

It happened in this way. The partner in the sex-act 
ceased to be a subdued or seduced, but otherwise in- 
different, person and became a sort of understudy for 
the familiar and forbidden first love. The desire for 
tenderness and protection, for receiving affection and 
surrendering one's own ego, in return, was transferred 


. . . To Happiness 

to a new, not prohibited image — or a series of them. 
These relations were tending to reproduce the deep 
intimacy and immediate understanding that existed 
between mother and child. The development of the 
personality in reaching higher levels demands a more 
rarefied atmosphere, and focuses the wish to give and 
accept the best of life on a clearcut and permanent 
personal tie. The ideal now is a firm union of two, a 
"closed system," as the single individual was at the 
beginning, from which the rest of the world is ex- 
cluded. The feelings of the beloved are believed to be 
as immediately revealed as one's own, so that the two 
personalities are almost merged into one another. "I 
give myself for you and dote upon the exchange." The 
self-pleasure and self-satisfaction, surviving from the 
earliest days, finds a new field in this exchange and can 
henceforth be enjoyed as reflected through the alter ego. 
The orgastic wish to eject and to spend, to pour out 
life's vigor tends to become an endless move within a 
circle. Love believes in permanence. 

We are on a winding staircase; the end will always 
be where the beginning was, but on a different level. 
What started from a physiological act, not differing 
much from a reflex, has become one of the most valuable 
and venerable attainments of the P. S. P., an ideal with- 
out which life would go, and often enough has gone, 
to ruin. 

[ 167 ] 

Masks of Love and Life 

What is a sort of paroxysm may become transformed 
into an everflowing fountain of sacrifice and the sur- 
render of self-interest. Love as the main inspiration for 
living becomes more important than life itself. It is the 
mark of true love that it persists as well in the height of 
ecstasy as in the slough of despondency. This replaces 
the primitive pattern of rushing from culmination to 
total extinction, but it presupposes a great progress in 
the refinement of feeling which is not attained by the 
run of the mill of the p. s. P. It would have been 
entirely lost and obscured when degenerating into 
brutality and social catastrophes had the poets of all 
ages not kept it alive, and within view of those who 
have eyes for it. 

The primitive forms of sexuality and the refined 
ways of love are not mutually exclusive. They can 
co-exist, independent and contrasting, presenting the 
so-called "split" in love-life, or they can join and grow 
into a more or less harmonious unit. Under constant 
pressure, a balanced distribution of erotic energy, like 
that of a fluid in communicating tubes, usually evolves. 
When they remain divergent, the Ego may oscillate 
from one to the other, or again one of them may hold 
the stage while the other pulls the strings. These curious 
complexities are too well known to deserve a lengthy 
discussion. It is due to them that the word "love" is 
used in life and literature to cover so many and so 


. . . To Happiness 

diverse emotional hues, moods, and acts. The only test 
by which love in the specific, full sense of the word can 
be distinguished from the common trash of pleasure- 
seeking is its trend toward permanence and consolida- 
tion which it tries to evolve out of the fluidity of 
eternally varying sensations. Within this domain, it 
comprises manifestations of all ranks and dignities, 
from carnal urge to transcendental devotion. 

If something worthwhile can be said about love, it 
must be done in rhyme, but not with reason. The 
problem is too ambiguous for straightforward logic and 
too fundamental for analysis. It will be well to re- 
member that the dividing line between "normal" and 
"pathological," at best uncertain and wavering, here 
becomes entirely unreliable. Normal love shows a 
thousand pathological traits, and pervert, neurotic, or 
intense love can go through the whole gamut of human 
emotions. Homosexuality knows all variants from 
brutal sensuality to "Platonic" love — the word here 
used in its true sense. This is attested by some great 
poets and artists and lies open to common observation. 
The same is true of all other forms of distorted Eros. 
The "human bondage" attached to a severe, punishing, 
and frustrating master or mistress is but an extreme 
form of the self-abandonment of love. In its sadistic 
form, mounting from simple teasing to the passion for 
tormenting and eventually killing, it survives as an 


Masks of Love and Life 

isolated component of the first, primordial erotic im- 
pulses which generally has to be subdued or repressed 
and overcompensated in the sacred cause of permanence, 
since nobody can eat his love-object and have it. 

Passion of such wide extension and variety cannot 
be expected to keep to a narrow range of incentives. 
Beauty, charm, purity, and similar attractive qualities 
are powerful agents for its choice, but not so all- 
powerful as ordinary belief assumes. Other, less popular 
qualities, can have the same effect; nor are such 
attributes and situations excluded which general opinion 
brands as antidotes to love such as: physical deformity, 
disease, irresponsibility, unfaithfulness, lack of char- 
acter, affectation, nasty temper tantrums, and so forth. 
Stupidity and neglect of cleanliness are found attractive 
by those who are still under the unconscious influence 
of their own infantility. In most of these cases, ordinary 
and more conventional ideals are not openly aban- 
doned; to them, lip service is paid, and the infatuation 
is considered as but an exception which proves the rule. 
These good people don't fall in love with what they 
disapprove, but they use all available logical or illogical 
arguments for approving what they love. 

All this has been summed up a million times by 
stating that "love is blind" which means simply that its 
overpowering strength lies in the Unconscious. The 
appraisals by the Ego through its various clever ration- 


. . . To Happiness 

alizations make a great show, but they constellate 
neither the choice of love nor the course which it takes. 
Their time comes later when the tidal wave of passion 
recedes, and the mud-flats of rationality reappear; then 
they are at liberty to start their civilizing and educa- 
tional activities with great pride, but little profit. When 
a beauiful wild mounain scenery has been made thor- 
oughly accessible, it is definitely spoiled. 

The influence of social conditions, standards of 
culture, traditions and conventions has been grossly 
overrated. At first sight, it might look as if they were 
the main factors in moulding and fashioning the 
fluctuations of the forms of love-life; primitive, patri- 
archal, chivalrous, sentimental, cynical, and so on. 
Actually, they do no more than turn the spotlight on 
the one trait that suits the trends of the epoch, while 
obscuring the others. Each one of them existed before, 
and will continue to exist when it has become invisible 
to inattentive eyes. The misleading external aspect is 
partly due to the general dislike of recognizing what 
does not fit in with the dominant point of view, and 
still more with the respectful distance at which true 
self-expression is kept by the P. s. P. For the utterance 
and formulation of their deepest and most intimate 
emotions, they find no medium in their own speech, 
and have to fall back on prefabricated sentiments and 
ready-made phraseology. Seen as a mass phenomenon, 


Masks of Love and Life 

it looks as if all the emotions of a period, which in fact 
are highly individual, were copied from the same model. 
Preachers and poets, movies and magazines vie with 
each other in offering their collections of samples, made 
to please the popular taste of the time. A great deal of 
intentional or unintentional faking is used for the 
tailoring and trimming of these fancy dresses. 

It is a moot question whether a distinct type of 
emotional reaction can come into existence until, by an 
act of artistic creation, it has been hewn out of the 
bedrock of the Unconscious and carved in clear out- 
lines. Granted that this is the way it happens, it still 
would hardly make love itself a literary or artificial 

An illustrative case of such a mistake is the frequent 
belief that the "ideal" love, which transcends sensuality, 
was brought into being, during the Middle Ages, by 
Christianity or by knighthood and the troubadours. A 
cursory glance at the love lyrics of classic antiquity 
should be enough to destroy this error. "Tecum vivere 
amam, tecum obeam libenter." (With you, I would 
love to live, with you I would die willingly.") Can 
"ideal" love say more? And yet this sample is taken 
from Horace, who certainly had not the making of a 
knight or a mediaevalist. 

Love studies and attempts the transformation of 
pleasure into something nobler and more durable just 


. . . To Happiness 

as the alchemists tried to transmute ordinary metal into 
gold that defies rust and deterioration. The primitive 
aim of orgasm, the urge to give without demanding in 
return, the eagerness to spend all vigor and fervor on 
behalf of the beloved is released in a new, more cir- 
cuitous, but also more promising way; it is lifted from 
the physiological level to a higher one which meets the 
demands of a fully integrated Ego. This new develop- 
ment is free from the dilemma and conflict which 
impaired the value of pleasure and turned the best 
among the p. s. p. away from it. The effusion by love 
does not rush to a climax followed by annihilation; it 
claims permanence and looks up to eternity. Admittedly, 
it falls short of these ideals most of the time, but their 
hold is strong enough to make transitoriness look like a 
fatal or fatuous accident. This evolution must have 
cost many hard struggles and a tremendous toll of 
psychic elaboration. But it certainly was worth while 
going through all that with courage and determination, 
since love and happiness were bound to each other by 
a great promise. 

Is that not exactly the text that the choirs of angels 
sing? "Love is Happiness and Happiness is Love!" 
When the angels are right, it proves that the s. P. is a 
good old place after all, our personal experiences 

It is tempting to range ourselves on the side of the 



Masks of Love and Life 

angels and to believe that this world's miseries and 
misfortunes can be compensated by the enthronement 
of love — a thought too tempting to be true. 

Love is not happiness, not even the soil on which it 
grows. Although indispensable, it does not produce it, 
but works like the necessary presence of a catalyst in 
certain chemical processes. "Potential" love serves this 
precarious purpose more often than its actuality. 

All this sounds like an artificial rigmarole. It is not; 
it is perfectly natural. 

To begin with, not every sort of love can be used. 
Only the genuine article, almost free from the alloys 
of possessiveness, vanity, envy, jealousy, and mere lust, 
will do. Possibilities of this order are the privilege of 
natures of a high organization and of a standard of 
emotional purity. 

The conjunction of love and happiness is most 
propitious for those who are not yet in love, neither 
with another human being nor with any definite god 
or goddess, science, art, ideal, or hobby. "Nondum 
amant sed amare amant." ("They don't yet love, but 
love to love.") as St. Augustine puts it. The over- 
flowing willingness to love, the eagerness to keep the 
mind wide open for its reception, the sense of an ap- 
roaching inspiration, the welcome given to everything, 
pleasant or painful, that brings with it the bright aura 
of universality and oneness with the world, the frame 


. . . To Happiness 

of mind which looks at the material things not as useful 
or useless, as familiar or strange, but as symbols, re- 
vealing the degrees and manifestations of life, — all 
these grouped together (or rather, this one state of 
mind with its many facets) will blossom forth as the 
rare flower, of present happiness. It may come as a 
feeling of overwhelming vitality, or of a quiet exalta- 
tion, or only as the vision of a distant splendor, but it 
will always be a profound emotion, the thrill of a new 
and better life, by whatever name it is called. The 
sensation is that of a man, wandering for a long, 
seemingly endless time in a narrow, dank, and dark 
valley, who finally emerges on a high plateau where he 
has land and sea, rivers and hills lying at his feet and a 
luminous sky over his head. The soul spreads its wings 
and becomes responsive far beyond its ordinary limits, 
and the shackles of anxiety fall off: Pan smiles. 

It is no drawback that love itself is absent, either 
sending its first rays over the horizon, or having dis- 
appeared and left behind its afterglow. In the tri- 
umphant presence of love, little room is left for the 
foreboding that something miraculous which is not love, 
but happiness, has happened ; the lover's heart, thrilled 
by passion, flutters like a bird which has flown out of its 
cage, and begins to try its wings. 

The question which is all-important at the time 
when love is the master is this — will it be requited or 

[ 175 ] 

Masks of Love and Life 

not ? — but the answer to this question has no bearing 
on the foundation of happiness. The thing that matters 
is: how much love, or the readiness for it, creates the 
ability to give oneself up without getting stinted by 
anxiety (the open doors again) or rushed toward 
orgasm? The ideal — probably unattainable for the 
"normal" person — is a "situation sans issue," when 
the outpouring of affect is balanced by the unrestrained 
welcome and acceptance of the impressions and sensa- 
tions the world has to give. The vehement stages of 
love may produce momentarily the same effect by their 
ecstatic quality, but they are actually less able to give 
happiness than the "before" and "after"; expectation 
and memory are the abode of happiness. 

The discovery of new beauty is the reward for those 
who are content with a life given over to love which is 
always near and never here. Some part of the world — 
small or big — that has been tongue-tied hitherto 
begins to deliver its message of beauty. There is a 
great deal of sadness in these messages — "sunt lacrimae 
rerum"* — yet they bring more happiness than pleasure 
will ever have to give. 

Eros, and no other god or demon, guards the path 
by which happiness steps down from heaven. But he is 
not moved by prayer and sacrifice to use his powers to 
this end. Nothing will deflect him from his own pur- 

* "Such are the tears of things," i.e., the sad situation. 


. . . To Happiness 

pose. He is, before all things, the creator and champion 
of life. Life at any price, even at the cost of misery and 
pain, is his first and last aim. A "situation sans issue," 
the tranquillisation through a perfect equilibrium of 
forces tends toward the extinction of life; it leads, by a 
different way, ultimately to the same goal as the violent 
culmination: to death. 


Chapter IX 

Once upon a time there was a boy of four or five 
whom I knew intimately — in parts, of course. Today 
but little is left of this old acquaintance. The scant 
knowledge which I still retain about the way he looked 
at the world around him, his preferences, fears, and pet 
aversions is torn to disconnected shreds; I am not get- 
ting far when I try, by putting the isolated parts to- 
gether, to reconstruct a convincing picture of the sort of 
person this boy was. One of these fragmentary mem- 
ories stands out from the rest by its vivid affects which 
have remained fully alive to this day. In this one 
recollection I feel myself still identical with the child. 

It is the memory of a love — not the first love, be- 
cause I know that this boy had had, about a year earlier, 
a scene of vehement love-making with his grandmother's 
maid which gave a lasting stimulation to his fantasy- 
life — not to mention diverse similar affairs with 
governesses, a certain aunt, and his mother. But this 
was the first love between boy and girl, the beloved one 
being a child of his own age. 


The Variables 

It was a hot Sunday afternoon, and the boy was 
drowsily lounging in the garden. Young as he was, he 
could already feel the peculiar emptiness by which 
Sunday afternoons are distinguished from ordinary 
weekly boredom. Visitors to his parents arrived, as they 
did regularly, but this time they brought several chil- 
dren, and among them was a girl with dark eyes and 
dark ringlets of hair (this is the only detail of her 
appearance that he still remembers) who took his heart 
by storm — the famous "coup de f-oudre." He did not 
leave her side for a moment, and when they all 
assembled to play around a sandpile, at the farthest end 
of the garden, he sat at her side and felt happy. 

His happiness was soon disturbed by certain well- 
known sensations in his inside which warned him that 
it would soon be time to exchange his present place for 
a more solitary one. But since this other place was in 
the courtyard, and he would have had to give up the 
place near his charmer to go all the way through the 
garden and down a big staircase, he wrestled with the 
urge and tried to delay it — till he suddenly felt that it 
was too late. Howling loud with shame and humilia- 
tion, he ran away. He still remembers that on the same 
day later he passed through the courtyard, led by the 
hand of an adult person, who pointed with some cut- 
ting remarks to his pants that were washed and cleaned 
at the old pump in the corner of the yard, but he has 


Masks of Love and Life 

never seen the girl again, — nor had he the slightest 
wish left for it. It was all wiped out by his shame. 

This episode marked a period in the boy's manner 
of loving. From then on he became highly self-conscious 
whenever he was in the presence of a woman by whom 
he felt attracted. Afraid of appearing contemptible and 
ridiculous in her eyes, he became unnecssarily pompous 
and stiff. He felt compelled to impress her with his 
cleverness or importance in some far-fetched way that 
would not fit the situation, and spoiled the natural ap- 
proach. At the slightest teasing or unkind remark, he 
would break off and withdraw into his shell, feeling 
deeply unhappy. Hampered by these obstacles, he was 
not often successful in his wooing; and that made him 
still more shy and pretentious. In short, the influence of 
this early humiliation lasted until far into manhood; it 
was finally overcome, not by time, but through other 
fortunate influences which, by their combined force, 
eliminated it almost, but not quite. 

The little boy is a poor example, but my own. At 
any rate, it illustrates how to the essential and eternal 
element — self-abandonment — are added accidentals, 
due to early impressions and experiences. These vari- 
ables give the strong brew of love a different seasoning 
for every man, woman and child, frothy or flat, rich or 
lean, bitter or sweet. They are in close touch with the 
rest of the mind; the tendency to integrate all dynamics 


The Variables 

of the Ego and make them an organic part of the 
personality extends to them, but to harmonize their 
whimsies is one of the hardest tasks for the Ego. The 
price is worth the trouble, for who succeeds will be- 
come the captain of his soul and the master of his 
destiny. However, whether integrated or not, when 
these variable components have once been established, 
they get firmly rooted in the mind and become undis- 
tinguishable from the basic element. With these indi- 
vidualistic variables rests the decision as to who shall 
love and who be loved, and when and how and how 

To "fall in love," using the word in a more ordinary 
and less idealistic sense than when we looked at it as the 
lodestar for the quest after happiness, is in itself an 
obscure mode. Impressions and experiences belonging 
to different stages and distant regions of the developing 
personality are retained or revived. Before the process 
is finished, half-hearted attempts at falling in love are 
made as rehearsals for the final leap. 

To the complex formula of the mixture, the startling 
possibility of abrupt and unpredictable swings from one 
extreme to the opposite is due — love changing to hate, 
hate to love, wild passion to indifference, adoration to 
contempt, disgust to desire. The sudden emergence of 
these opposites is deceptive; they had already existed 
for a long time, but were stowed away in the hold while 


Masks of Love and Life 

the ship sailed under the flag of another power, and 
"The flag covers the goods." 

Such upheavals rarely occur until a certain point of 
which consciousness knows neither the existence nor the 
position is passed. Then an entire reversal of the situa- 
tion follows. What looked like love — and was love, 
although not built on secure foundations — turns 
into something entirely different, surprising all be- 
holders and more than anyone else, the former lover. 
It also happens the other way round; anger, resentment, 
or what seemed like nothing more than a momentary 
erotic appetite, a whim, may, at the drop of a hat, reveal 
the love that had been hidden behind it. Such an un- 
expected about-face may occur in all sorts of human 
relations, but the pattern is the metamorphosis of 
"V amour." * 

The job of keeping this whirl of antagonistic com- 
ponents straight is much hampered by the general dis- 
inclination of the P. s. P. to be made aware of their 
difficulties. Who — except an analyst — likes to retrace 
the line which led from the nurse's nipple to the lips of 
his sweetheart? What adds to the trouble is that sex, 
although free from strict periodicity, has still a knack 
of disappearing for a while when the urge has been 
satisfied and re-appearing unexpectedly like a Jack-in- 

* The author probably here has in mind the text of the Habanera 
in Carmen — "L amour est un o'tseau" etc. 

— Editor. 


The Variables 

the-box. When the hope to have done with "venery," 
as Benjamin Franklin called it (in making one of his 
characteristic good resolutions) seems firmly estab- 
lished, a sudden blast of libido makes the firm determi- 
nation cave in like a house of cards. 

More impulses than there are separate rooms avail- 
able live permanently under the same roof and have to 
be taken care of, not according to their dignity or dura- 
tion, but in proportion to their momentary intensity and 
impatience. No wonder that sometimes hell breaks 
loose and a wild rough-house is started. Ideal love 
wrinkles the nose and sniffs audibly when her humbler 
relations come near her. Shame and exhibitionism get 
into each other's hair. Sadism and masochism, the two 
naughty boys, stage a tug of war, and the Ego with all 
its serene integration stands by powerless, gives orders 
which are utterly disregarded, and wishes it could 
throw all of them out of doors. When and where these 
divers ingredients are picked up, how they mix or fail 
to mix, ought to be the subject of thorough and profit- 
able studies, but it isn't. Only the purveyors of fiction 
describe, discuss, dissect the strange forms of the "not- 
so- tender passion" in complete freedom, but the scien- 
tists have not yet claimed these privileges as their task. 

A comprehensive picture which distinguishes the 
types clearly and views them from all angles eludes 
our present state of knowledge. The danger of falling 


Masks of Love and Life 

into caricature, or of careless foreshortening or of look- 
ing at things from one fixed standpoint is still too 
present. The best plan is to emulate the psychological 
pathfinders, the poets and story-tellers, by paying atten- 
tion to those trends which appear but faint and nebu- 
lous in the dim twilight of social consciousness. 

An interesting problem is presented by the various 
attempts at integrating love with hate; the experiments 
are tried again and again in the vain hope of combining 
heat and cold, darkness and light. The effort to temper 
and moderate the hostile forms by binding them to each 
other so that a medium temperature, a pleasant dawn, 
a "reasonable attitude" may be generated does not lead 
to a lasting solution. The two antagonists soon fly to 
opposite ends and meet only in combat. 

Another method, applied unconsciously, consist's in 
giying the devil his due — or more than his due: when 
love takes the ascendency, it is overemphasized, exag- 
gerated to the height of a fanatical and blind devotion, 
but the submerged part remains active and becomes a 
source of trouble. The all-too-loving wife torments 
her husband with her anxiety for his life and well- 
being, and satisfies her repressed hate by bursting into 
tears and making scenes until the unfortunate spouse 
is deprived of his personal liberty. 

A similar situation attracts less attention, being 
more flexible and unobtrusive: when love is so strongly 


The Variables 

mixed with distrust, criticism, and petty jealousy that it 
cannot come to fruition in the presence of the beloved 
one. While she is absent for a long time (the longest 
and most reliable absence is death) the lover's attitude 
changes. The memory — fantasy — mirage-image 
which takes the place of the person can now be split 
into two separate halves which would have been a 
difficult and painful operation performed on the actual 
person. The love then wells up unhindered and un- 
mixed, in a flood of kind remembrances and tender 
recollections that beautify the past by illuminating it 
with a rosy light of which there was hardly a glimmer 
visible in actuality. ("Je n'ai pas une lettre d'elle. 
Nous nous detestions tous les deux.") * But in spite of 
the posthumous idealization, the hate is unabated and 
emerges in the shape of fantasies of revenge and bitter 
reproach which run side by side with the loving ideali- 
zation, like two rivers which meet but whose waters 
do not mix. 

Love is not weakened when, like a double-faced 
Janus, it looks in two opposite directions. This is the 
sort that grips the mind between the jaws of a pincer 
so that, with all its violent wriggling, it cannot free 

Jealousy, the most poisonous of all the ingredients 

* "I have not kept a single letter of hers. We hated one 



Masks of Love and Life 

of love, has to be left aside. It is too big a problem to 
be dealt with by way of sight-seeing. Whoever plunges 
into this "thorny labyrinth," to use Hazlitt's exquisite 
phrase, has to endure much before he can return to the 
light of day. The worst about it is the obscure fore- 
boding that the labyrinth contains in its centre some- 
thing repulsive and abhorrent, against which one's 
nature revolts, and that it is just this loathsome thing 
that clutches and holds and eventually kills the will to 
get out of the noxious atmosphere back to air and 

"Monopolism" is but a single thread in the in- 
tricate net of jealousy, but the one that is best open to 
observation. It demands the absolute, unconditional, 
and unlimited surrender of the beloved person. Nothing 
in mind and body, no passing thought and not the 
slightest breath of emotion, must escape the watchful 
monopolist. Every little thing that evades his observa- 
tion becomes highly important, like a lost penny to a 

The monopolist begrudges the tiniest morsel of 
sympathy or interest bestowed on a third person. A 
friendly smile, a warm handshake will bring tears of 
rage. Yet, in spite of his jealousy he may be indulgent, 
even encouraging toward far-gone erotic adventures 
under the strict condition that they take place with his 
previous approval and perfect foreknowledge, so to 


The Variables 

speak under his eyes. Anything done behind his back 
makes him see red, but if he participates mentally he 
derives from it a curious sort of pleasure. The "pro- 
tector" of a prostitute can be a strict monopolist; his 
brutal insistence on "being in the know" about every- 
thing she does and feels may not only be due to the 
obvious financial motive. The proprietary attitude does 
not end by degrees, but comes to a sudden stop. There 
are no transitions, no half-way measures. When, for 
some reason or other, the possessive instinct has been 
withdrawn or directed elsewhere, the tyrant will not 
care two straws as to who is now the lucky possessor. 
Instability in the love for the individual goes hand 
in hand with faithfulness to the type. The second wife 
of a divorced husband can often be recognized by her 
resemblance to the first one. Or, still more paradoxi- 
cally, the mistress looks like a duplicate of the legiti- 
mate wife. There is a strongly conservative element — 
we call it "fixation" — in all erotic relations, volatile 
as they seem. 

Well known is the type called "eternal suckling"; 
it is recognized easily among men, but less observable, 
for social reasons, among women. These "sucklings" 
bind themselves for life to women a good deal older 
than themselves and not at all distinguished by beauty. 
What they want is to lead a comfortable, peaceful 
existence which protects them from the struggle of life. 


Masks of Love and Life 

They are not excessively lazy, no ordinary parasites, but 
they want to be sheltered from conflicts and competi- 
tion. Their dominant need is to feel assured of being 
taken care of. To get fed adequately and regularly is 
the basis of their relations to the other sex. The kitchen 
apron takes the place of the golden girdle of Aphrodite. 
Their demand is not founded on simple selfishness. It 
expresses their concept of love. All the charms of 
youth and beauty are unable to shake their fidelity to 
their motherly provider. 

No female counterpart is the type called the "man- 
eating woman." She does not suck, she devours; she 
doesn't enjoy her own comfort or other advantages, 
but the trouble and heartbreak she causes to her lover. 
Loving and feeding, being loved and fed, are present 
in several other typical and fixed patterns. This is not 
surprising since the earliest and universal experience 
teaches that the two are given together, and by the 
same person. One of the more curious combinations 
is the group of men who are fascinated when they see 
a woman who is not entirely devoid of charm, occu- 
pied with the preparing and dispensing of food, like 
Werther* who beholds his Lotte first cutting bread. 
These men are admirers of the beauty of the bosom 
which is to them the most, sometimes the only, alluring 
part of the feminine anatomy. Any full-bosomed cook, 

* Goethe's Werthers Leiden. 


The Variables 

waitress, salesgirl in a food-market has a chance with 
them. Folksongs as well as historic episodes prove that 
the baker's and innkeeper's daughters or wives hold a 
privileged position of attractiveness. 

Of a somewhat different type are those who fall 
for girls in a humble social position, preferably 
servants. Why has just this peculiarity figured so many 
times in literature? It seems that the poetic mind 
inclines that way. In Goethe's, Faust, I., the "first 
scholar" says: 

"Die Hand, die Sams tag ihren Be sen fuhrt, 
Wird Sonntags Dich am besten karessieren." 

{"The hand which swings the broom on Saturday, 
On Sunday will caress you best.") 

The poet himself fell in love with a girl of humble 
station whom he had, not only metaphorically, lifted 
from the ground, and he finally married her, causing 
no end of scandal to the virtuous gossips of Weimar. 
Oliver Goldsmith wrote a comedy about a man whose 
love-making tends exclusively toward women of a 
lower class, and a girl who wins him by posing as a 
chambermaid; this play he called significantly: "She 
stoops to conquer." Gottfried Keller put into his 
Sinngedicht a whole series of stories of the same 


Masks of Love and Life 

pattern. The most comprehensive statement comes 
from a humorist, Wilhelm Busch: 

"Dock jeder Jungling hat wohl mat 
N'Hang fur's Kiichenpersonal." 

("All youths at times will feel a wrench 
Which draws them to the kitchen-wench.} 

As an explanation of this frequent and none too 
dainty "wrench" or taste, the boy must be recalled 
whose first one-sided necking party with his grand- 
mother's maid excited in him a lasting erotic ardor, 
although the enchanted lover was not more than three 
years old. The form under which desire entered its 
first epochal experience will stay. 

The women who fall in love with waiters, chauf- 
feurs, bell-boys, and other men of humble station are 
actuated by altogether different motives. Humility, 
however, is not among them; on the contrary, it is their 
feminine pride which gives them no other choice. They 
hate to acknowledge the masculine superiority as mani- 
fested by the active and conquering part which falls to 
the man in all strictly sexual relations. On the other 
hand, these women are strongly attracted by mascu- 
linity with all its most masculine appendages, and 
have no desire whatever to turn away from it by 


The Variables 

bestowing their favor on their own sex. They fall in 
love with a man whose masculinity, although strong in 
itself, cannot offend their pride because the circum- 
stances of rank, wealth, and social status prevent his 
taking the initiative. Their superior standing gives 
them the comforting assurance that it was not his 
power but their condescension which has made the 
love-relation feasible. They don't mind their feminine 
role when they feel that they were conquered in 
obedience to their own order. "I may command where 
I adore." Queen Victoria who resented the slightest 
breach of etiquette as an offence against her dignity 
permitted plain Mr. Brown to roundly scold her. 

Since nobody else has so many interesting things to 
tell about love as the poets, it looks as if their own 
love-life would open a specially instructive field for 
our observation. Yet, the poets or artists possess no 
peculiar "ars amandi" or a method of choosing, all 
their own. We find among them specimens of all 
character types, temperaments, and moral standards, 
within the range of humanity. They present variables 
of the identical sort as the rest of the P. s. p. Not in 
loving, but in exploring their emotional adventures for 
the benefit of their art do they show distinguishing 
attributes. The transformation of love into work till 
it entirely absorbs it, this is their special problem. They 
reveal their love, as every other feeling that they can 

[ 191 ] 

Masks of Love and Life 

grasp, fathom, and master artistically, without reticence. 

This makes their works the best source-books foi 
the psychology of feeling, but the persons who pro- 
voked these feelings, and to whom they were attached, 
have to pay for it. By a curious twist, which is the 
privilege of creative minds, the outflow of their best 
inner possessions is, in the end, poured into their work, 
no matter to whom it had been directed at the start. 
After the period of passionate devotion to the idol of 
his dreams, after the self-consecration to the radiant 
sun around which all the stars in his firmament rotate, 
comes the second epoch when the poet withdraws 
within himself. 

It does not matter whether his wishes, whatever 
they are, have been fully satisfied or not. The change 
may seem to be due to external circumstances, but in 
truth he has met the fate of a creative spirit from 
which he can not escape. His former passion has not 
become extinct, but has shifted in a new direction. His 
creative urge has emerged and fills his mind leaving 
no place for his former cares and troubles. His emo- 
tions, desires, and moods have not become less vivid, 
but instead, being lavished on the world of reality, they 
are put to work under the whip and domination of 
the artistic will. The images and shadows of passion 
obtain a stronger vitality and an infinitely more durable 
existence than their originals. The artist's masterpiece 


The Variables 

is the sacred vessel of his love; for his life only a few 
drops are left, till it is emptied and ready to be filled 
again by a new passion. 

The objects, they might almost be called the vic- 
tims, of his adoration may often feel perplexed, and 
more than a little annoyed, about this transfiguration 
which, seen from outside, resembles a sleight-of-hand 
trick (as e.g., Frau von Stein after Goethe's flight to 
Italy). It wouldn't be much consolation to them if 
they understood that the artist is made faithless by his 
fate; even if he clings to the same love all his life, he 
is faithful only to his work. 

And as for the rest of us, just ordinary people with- 
out the privileges of genius, how long does eternal 
love last? Is it as continuous as it pretends to be, or 
more like a line consisting of separate dots? The 
answer lies somewhere between the devil of cynicism 
and the deep sea of sentimentality. We know that 
love belongs to a better class than those sentiments 
which are merely repetitive, like a book that opens 
always on the same page. But the heathens who have 
accepted baptism are not so thoroughly converted as 
the missionaries are prone to believe. They retain 
some of their tribal customs and eventually may re- 
lapse and become pagans in everything but the name. 
By the same token it is hard to tell just when 
the emotional life has achieved real permanence and 


Masks of Love and Life 

stability and when it is but a make-believe, a uniform 
surface, produced by habit, tradition, imitation, and 
self-deception, just sufficient to cheat the fond mis- 
sionary (who, in psychoanalytic parlance is called 
"Super-Ego"). Abrupt turns of destiny reveal the 
existence of surprising realities. Husbands or wives 
who have lost their beloved mate become, after a vio- 
lent episode of mourning, rejuvenated as widowers and 
widows. There was no dissembling in their love, but it 
was not the kind which defies every absence, even if it 
is irrevocable. For some who, in good faith, considered 
themselves as fondly and deeply attached, their love is 
a burden which crushes a good part of their vitality. 
On the other hand, there are unforgettable hours with 
a person who seemed indifferent before and after, short 
liaisons which are given up easily and yet stand out in 
memory from all other experiences in life and love; 
there are relations which are full of quarrels and 
misunderstandings while they last, and ail the same 
furnish the only durable and firm tie compared with 
which all the rest is found wanting. Love can be 
everything — except guaranteed by any power other 

than its own. 


Another one of those venerable questions which are 
always asked and never answered: Is there in every 
pair a lover and a beloved one, one who kisses and one 


The Variables 

who "tend la joue?"* This would make the joining of 
two flames, the highest ideal of all lovers, an idle 
dream without hope of fulfillment; it would leave all 
those who are unable to resign themselves to a one- 
sided passion doomed to eternal frustration. However, 
neither the evidence, so far as it has been collected and 
sifted, nor the authorities, meaning the great intuitive 
psychologists, in short all those who are not blinded 
by wishful thinking, are encouraging , in that 

But whether answered or not, one problem always 

leads to a new one: Is every individual case once and 

for all, inexorably for the same part, destined for all 

his life-time either to love or to be loved? The fate 

which dictates the endless repetition of the intitial 

pattern {Wiederholungszwang)** is far stronger than 

human wishes and reasonings. It leads the willing and 

drags the resisting to their inevitable destination. The 

compulsion which we call: "the Unconscious," and 

others, "destiny," and religious believers "God's will" 

leaves no freedom of choice, and no hope or relief in 

our bondage. On the other scale lies the more consoling 

fact that within every human being several of these 

patterns exist simultaneously, as the residues of the 

various epochs and stages of his development. This 

gives him, if not free choice, at least some latitude in 

* Holds out the cheek. 
** Repetition compulsion. 


Masks of Love and Life 

reacting differently to the variety of constellations of 
facts, thus offering him something better than the mere 

illusion of liberty. 

How strongly prevalent, to the extent of an absolute 
domination, the necessity to love can be over the wish 
to be loved is best illustrated by the work of one of the 
greatest authorities in these matters: Marcel Proust. 
The men whose mind he analyses — the narrator him- 
self, Swann, Robert Saint Loup, the baron de Charlus, 
are widely different types of humanity — but they agree 
in this tendency: They are bent exclusively on loving — 
jealousy apart. To be loved is for them a secondary, 
sometimes helpful, sometimes detrimental situation. 
This is the effect of their unconscious fixation since in 
all others ways they show no signs of self-abandonment 

or altruism. 

An accurate scrutiny shows some finer shadings in 
the bicclor scheme of loving or being loved. In the 
case of many who find their satisfaction in loving, the 
wish to get some reward in return for their devotion is 
not eliminated. Although the original character of 
love, the urge to give away as much as possible of their 
self, dominates their emotional life, the longing to get 
and have and hold some free gift of love is not abro- 
gated. It may be a minimum, dictated by the need of a 
compensation in order to quiet the apprehension of the 
yawning emptiness which would follow after the reck- 


The Variables 

less outpouring. The hint of a sign of requited love, 
the fraction of a future possibility, however tiny, is 
needed for assurance while the soul is still hesitating 
at the brink of self-abandon. Stendhal has probably 
something of that nature in mind when he speaks of 
"esperance" in his book De I' Amour, and insists that 
these small signs which create hope of being loved are 
indispensable for producing what he calls "crystalliza- 
tion." These signs have often only the slightest foot- 
hold in reality; in matters of love, fantasy always turns 
up when it is called for. "Who chooses me must give 
and hazard all he hath," says the leaden casket in the 
Merchant of Venice, formulating the fundamental law 
of unconditional surrender, but "hazard" points to the 
chance of getting something in return, revealing an 
indefinite, but immensely precious promise — and who- 
soever is given hope goes not wholly unrewarded. 

Are you not utterly ruined by fate? 
All your hopes have gone astray! 
It's hope which makes me build and create 
And so I still am contented and gay. 

(Goethe: Spruche in Reimen) 

Exceptions to this rule are naturally those who are 
led on by a masochistic trend. They welcome hope- 
lessness as an additional suffering. 


Masks of Love and Life 

To feel assured of being loved belongs, therefore, to 
the frequent, although not regular, preconditions for 
falling in love. The eagerness for self-surrender by 
love with persons of this type is strongly developed 
and when once aroused, it will go to any length; yet 
their capacity to love begins and ends with the convic- 
tion that their love is a bit requited and does not meet 
a cold and disdainful reception. The end corresponds 
with the beginning: When it is felt that love has been 
withdrawn or when the discovery is made that it never 
really existed, all love's torches are at once extin- 
guished. The former centre of all thoughts then be- 
comes indifferent, just like any casual acquaintance. 
This reaction was well expressed in cynical Berlin by 
the saying: "Gil/ mir meinen Taler wieder. Do hast 
mich nie geliebt." ("Give me back my dollar, you 
never loved me.") 

Women who have been made sure, by manifold 
experiences, that they may trust the power of their 
beauty, charm, and poise, feel sufficiently self-reliant 
to leave the arduous job of loving, once and for all, to 
their admirers. They prefer to sit diva-like on their 
golden chair and let the men struggle for the privilege 
of being permitted to worship them. Their security 
places them above ordinary coquetry, they disdain the 
use of vulgar tricks to attract new adorers and feel 
quietly satisfied with their lot to be loved and not to 


The Variables 

love. And yet, love finds a vulnerable spot even in 
their perfect and shining armor. True love service, 
offered to them not in outbursts of passion, but in 
never-wearying constancy and, above all, in a tactful, 
unobtrusive way, will move them finally to requiting 
it by their own love in a mild way. It goes to the tune: 
"Love me very much and I will love you a little," but 
the fact remains that by a surfeit of being loved, the 
faculty, perhaps the need, for active loving is not 

This suggests that love, when all is said and done, 
is essentially not a one-sided affair. The high tension 
of passion will provoke an answer of some sort or 
other; the receiver on the other end cannot altogether 
fail to react. But whether the response elicited will be 
as it was desired, and similar to the stimulus, is another 

Among the many layers which make up the struc- 
ture of love, atop its bedrock stratum, belong the social 
factors which imbue it with their ever varying tastes 
and standards. When this process progresses smoothly 
and to general satisfaction, love is deemed dignified 
enough to be employed for official cultural functions. 
None of these influences have left a deep and lasting 
impression on its true core, but they produced many 
transitory hybrid forms in which the laws of passion 
are intertwined, sometimes in very cunning ways, with 


Masks of Love and Life 

the fopperies of passing fashions, or with social insti- 
tutions and their important purposes. The manner of 
courting and the correct way to be courted, the for- 
malities under which a couple is brought together, the 
borderlines separating the legitimate or illegitimate 
occasions of meeting and mating, the forms of con- 
nubial life, these are some of the arrangements by 
which the mixture between Eros, on the one hand, and 
contemporary mores and social conditions, on the other, 
is put to work. They modify not only the behavior, but 
to some extent, the surface of the sentiment itself. 

Enjoying a high social standing, respected and vener- 
ated, sometimes even invested with sanctity, these 
hybrids are easily misjudged to be themselves the all- 
powerful and eternal master. They form a most 
important section of the code, its socially approved 
manners and modes. They can be taught and must be 
learned. The lessons begin early in the nursery and 
continue through life. For this special subject, the 
"ars amandi' as a civic and domestic duty, no officially 
appointed teachers exist. In order to hold a diploma 
for the instruction in this delicate matter, a person 
would have to combine two different qualifications. To 
be perfect, the teacher ought to be thoroughly con- 
versant with the social climate, the high and low points 
of the popular predilections and antipathies in every 
detail. Yet, at the same time, he must never lose sight 


The Variables 

of the nucleus of timeless passion from which the living 
interest emanates, since without it his lessons would 
become an empty formality. 

This double qualification is best represented by 
contemporary belles-lettres of high grade. Why it is so 
has been defined as a general rule by one who ought to 
know all about it, by Goethe: "Poetry formulates 
something specific without thinking of a generaliza- 
tion or pointing toward it. Whoever grasps this par- 
ticular something vividly receives with it the generaliza- 
tion, without becoming aware of it, or only later." 
(Goethe, Sprue he.) 

The importance of finding a qualified teacher must 
not be overrated. All that part which can be taught is 
learned easily without special or professional coaching. 
It is in the atmosphere ("Cest dans les moeurs"), and 
by those who are receptive, the lesson will be absorbed 
by living and breathing in it. 

Quite exempt from it are the great lovers. Like all 
other specimens of human greatness, they go their way, 
heedless of the fashions and conventions. Although 
few of their number ever become known to the p. s. P., 
they present and preserve the immortal features of 

The great mass of ordinary humanity moves in the 
opposite direction, every individual acting, as far as 
his nature permits it, just as his neighbour does. 


Masks of Love and Life 

Conformation in externals is the mass rule which over- 
spreads the individual differences, without eliminating 

It is the great task of Eros to draw human beings 
together; he constrains them to destroy the fences 
which surround the Ego and overcome the separation 
which maintains individuality. But toward this uni- 
versal end, which is the desired and dreaded goal of 
self-extinction, each member of the P. s. P. travels on 
the particular path prescribed by his innermost un- 
conscious nature. By love as by death humanity is 
united; by love alone it is prevented from becoming 
one indistinguishable mass. 



Chapter X 


Among the things which should keep us in a 

permanent state of surprise, but seldom do, belongs the 

constant disproportion between the amount of energy 

put into teaching and learning and the final results of 

all these efforts. After a year or two, often before a 

few months have passed, there remains only a tiny 

fraction of the "spiritual treasures" that have been 

stored up over a period of years by the painstaking 

labor of teacher and disciple; the greater part melts 

away like April snow. 

In sharp contrast with this evanescence stands the 

technical knowledge, needed for practical purposes, and 

kept in readiness, without any trouble, through constant 

use: the business man does not forget his bookkeeping 

nor the lawyer the rules of evidence. These forms of 

knowledge, combined with other "adult" interests, 

elbow out the reminiscences of the erudition of which 

it has been said — and perhaps sincerely expected — 

that they will enrich the mind and broaden the outlook 


Masks of Love and Life 

for the rest of one's life. This rapid ejection is not 
necessitated by the lack of space in the mind — there 
always remain some unoccupied apartments; it is due 
to the fundamental indifference in regard to the pos- 
session of this kind of knowledge. It had never been 
accepted with more than lukewarm interest, so that its 
transfer from the treasure-house to the ash can is 
welcomed as a good riddance. 

History, ancient languages, literature, art become 
the dead-weights of instruction. Not because their 
teaching is so terrible or the average disciple is so 
shallow. When the boy in college has studied a 
Shakespeare play thoroughly, down to the last femi- 
nine ending, the principal effect seems to be the resolu- 
tion never to go near anything of that sort, if he can 
help it. Years later, after he has succeeded in forgetting 
all that he has been taught, he sees the same play in 
the theatre and enjoys it immensely without abandoning 
the deep-rooted prejudice that the Bard is, on the whole, 
better left alone. 

It would be unjust to make the teachers as a class 
responsible because they, like other people, generally 
cling to routine as the line of least resistance. 
Courageous spirits who act as pioneers and discoverers 
are, of course, exceptions, but rather less than in other 
walks of life. Their pointless shovelling of masses of 
grist into the mill and getting a few grains in return 

[204] ; 

Love and Learn! 

cannot be attributed to a specific mentality since it 
happens everywhere except when instruction is given 
exclusively to enthusiastic volunteers or to future 
specialists. Besides, the last decades have been rather 
overprolific in producing experiments and "movements" 
in this field, and yet the net result, in the long run, has 
remained the same. 

Teaching is an integral part of the broader issue of 
education. The question: what's wrong with teaching? 
leads naturally to the next one: what do we know 
about education? We can be certain of nothing more 
than this: it is a continuous process, each stage of 
which is built up on the base of the former; tracing it 
back, we find its beginnings in earliest childhood. For 
the understanding of what education does and does 
not do, the methods of schools and of formal training 
are of secondary importance. The foundations are 
laid elsewhere in a thoroughly informal manner: in the 
cradle, with the breast or the bottle, on and off the 
chamber-pot, by the first stirring of love, hate, and 
anxiety. Those who administer the first important 
gratifications and frustrations — parents, nurses, play- 
mates, servants, visitors, passer-bys — are often not 
aware of their educational influence; when they are, 
they have no clear idea of the consequences. Our 
knowledge of the first, most important steps leaves too 
much to guesswork and intuition. 


Masks of Love and Life 

All the same, that education does some of the 
things which it is expected to do and gets most people 
somewhere near the place where society wants to have 
them is an undeniable fact. The cannibal warriors 
succeed as wll as the highly progressive modern nur- 
series, with some exceptions, in raising by rule of 
thumb the child to their own standard of civilization, 
whatever that may be. For neither of the two systems, 
it can be explained with lucidity why they succeed nor 
predicted when they are going to fail. "The chief 
wonder of education is that it does not ruin everybody 
concerned in it, teachers and taught." (The Education 
of Henry Adams, Ch. IV.) A part of the responsibility 
is laid on the shoulders of heredity which is certainly a 
factor, but one still more obscure and unmanageable. 

A big gap in this scant and thinly spread knowledge 
is made by the impossibility of assessing the price that 
has to be paid for the successful establishment of an 
average level of present-day civilization. How much of 
those inhibitions which the child acquires exceed the 
necessary bonds of cultural self-control, how many 
chances for enjoyment and contentment are blighted, 
how many open doors are made impassable, how much 
of the intellectual and character development gets 
crippled or distorted, when and where are sown the 
seeds of a future neurosis (psychosis, addiction, crimi- 
nality, etc.) — all that remains a sealed book. Genera- 


Love and Learn! 

tion after generation walks mechanically on the beaten 
track or, breaking away from it, gropes for a new path 
in darkness. 

The inevitable fumbling in the earlier stages pro- 
duces confusion in questions of the higher education. 
Many different methods of moulding character have 
been evolved, but the proposals as to how to develop 
the personality along charted lines are so contradictory 
that they all, taken together, amount to exactly nothing. 

Two main schools of thought can be traced. One 
of them is best demonstrated in the model which the 
Prussians have evolved and made their idol under the 
name of "Drill." Its main characteristic is disregard of 
all psychological motives and situations. The order has 
to be executed no matter whether the task is congenial 
or repulsive; all private feelings are overruled by strict 
discipline. This method is almost sure to be effective, 
"to make or to break the man," when it is started be- 
fore the tender years of childhood are over and kept 
up without intermission all the time by an unrelenting 
severity that occasionally turns into brutality. The iron 
must enter the soul ; the pressure has to be applied, till 
the spirit is broken and unable to rise again. The result 
will be, of course, neither individual happiness, nor 
originality or creativeness, but a mass of highly efficient 
robot workers, and even better robot soldiers. 

Yet the sad truth is that this disciplinary "drill" 


Masks of Love and Life 

belongs to those we cannot entirely do without. Educa- 
tion ought not to be all honey and pie and lead the 
child unprepared and unprotected toward the rough 
experiences of life. The demands which work, family, 
and society will make cannot be dodged because they 
are felt to be unpleasant, inopportune, or jarring. Life 
itself is a taskmaster, stamped with a supreme disre- 
gard of psychological considerations, and "drill" is a 
part of the necessary preparation for it. The railway 
engineer or the surgeon has to give full and undivided 
attention to his job whatever his private joys or sor- 
rows at the moment may be, and to impress this as 
long as the mind is impressionable is a paramount duty 
of education. 

The Prussian general von der Marwitz tells in his 
memoirs that he had a private tutor who used a small 
book of not more than a hundred pages to teach his- 
tory. His pupil had to learn it by heart, page for page, 
and when he was through, he had to begin again at 
page one. Marwitz adds: "This teacher was narrow- 
minded and lazy, but I owe to him a superiority in 
regard to historical facts and dates over all persons, 
including the best informed I met in my long life. 
Nobody knew with as much certainty as I did in what 
year the battle of Crecy or Granson or Lepanto had 
taken place." 

The earliest educational influences make headway 


Love and Learn! 

when the experiences of a possible loss of love (scold- 
ing, punishment) has given them the necessary im- 
pressiveness. This leads to a new attitude. Efforts are 
made to perform or suppress them, not according to 
their immediate pleasantness, but in order to retain or 
gain love and protection. Where love or the threat of 
its withdrawal is shut out, the foundations of education 
cannot be laid. That explains why two opposite ex- 
tremes, persistent coddling of the child and unremitting 
severity, produce the same negative result. 

The other line leads, on the side of love and identifi- 
cation, to an active and creative participation with the 
work and thoughts which form the current civilization. 
Usually it doesn't get quite as far and settles down at 
one of the more comfortable wayside stations. 

This method, judiciously applied, does not "spoil" 
the child in the sense of making it asocial; it lends an 
interest in his activities and fosters his creative pro- 
clivities. The dark side of it is that the child doesn't 
learn to control his fancies, to postpone his pleasures, 
to act contrary to his mood, and all these are important 
social necessities. Moreover, when he loses interest in 
all the acquired knowledge and technique, he gets lost 
with it. 

From love springs, after conflicts and complications 
without number, the wish to be like the beloved and 
admired being, or like those whom it loves and 

[ 209 ] 

Masks of Love and Life 

cherishes. This produces in the pliant and easily mould- 
able Ego of the infant the trend toward identification. 
"I am not a little boy (or girl) , I want to be a big man 
like dad (a grown-up woman like mother) , and I will 
act accordingly." This "I-want-to-be," which gets 
equated with "I-am," is a mighty lever of social adap- 
tation, i.e., education, but a catch or rather a series of 
catches comes with it. 

The greater part of the process is unconscious; and 
it offers almost no chances for intentional and planned 
influence. When it becomes observable, it is often too 
late to undo it. Education, by using great care, can 
achieve something in regard to the selection of persons 
who are deemed to be desirable models for identifica- 
tion, but on the whole this choice, like most others, 
remains huddled in darkness; it goes by rules of at- 
traction and repulsion, which pull the ropes behind the 
scenes, and baffle all reasonable expectations. The 
wrong choice may have unfortunate consequences: for 
instance, when the boy moulds his personality after 
the pattern of the mother or nurse instead of imi- 
tating the father, or when the girl finds her ideal in 
the older brother. 

Another serious drawback lies in the less ideal 
traits of these ideals when their human frailties are 
copied. The child aims at becoming identical with the 
person it has chosen as its model in every respect; it 


Love and Learn! 

makes no distinction between vice and virtue, style and 
affectation. It studies and observes these models with 
the strict realism of its age. Pretensions as to possess- 
ing all sorts of imaginary virtues and sermonizing about 
them will eventually arouse its zest for preaching or 
confound the child altogether or instill distrust in its 
mind, but it will not help in stimulating an identification 
with qualities that do not exist. 

On the other hand, deficiencies of which the models 
are quite unaware, or which they believe to be well 
concealed, will be portrayed, perhaps even exaggerated, 
in the reproduction. 

Man konnf erzogene Kinder gebdren, 
Wenn die Eltern selber erzogen warm, 

"Educated children could be created 
If the parents themselves were educated. 

Identification has to be recognized as a mighty 
force in education, but it ought not to be ridden to 
death, and only used as a means to an end. This end, 
the establishment of an independent and firmly inte- 
grated personality lies beyond its limits, and a process 
of purification is necessary to attain it. After serving 
their purpose, the identifications must drop the char- 
acteristic marks, shown by their human, and therefore 


Masks of Love mid Life 

somewhat questionable, prototypes. If this develop- 
ment succeeds, the individual traits of the originals 
gradually become blurred. Having lost their acci- 
dental and circumscribed character, they are trans- 
formed into a general and harmonious, yet thoroughly 
alive, ideal. In taking this last step, the mind acquires, 
without unruliness, that inner freedom which we hail 
and admire as the flower of a perfect personality. This 
move toward abandoning the person-to-person identifi- 
cations in favor of a rounded-off impersonal ideal is, 
as a rule, halted before it has been able to progress far, 
by a sort of horror vacui; namely, the fear of breathing 
the thin air of ideas and self-made generalizations to 
which all but the most courageous spirits succumb. 

The results of identification are in some other re- 
spects unequal and unpredictable. Those which have 
been formed in later years, beginning with the school 
age, are not of the same firmness and stability as the 
earlier ones. This constitutes the main reason why the 
durable results of every known method of teaching lag 
so much behind expectations. When the teacher him- 
self is deeply interested in his subject, he is able to 
awaken interest by identification through his enthusi- 
asm, and build up knowledge and skills miles ahead 
of those obtained by the ordinary routine. Modern 
education, which is all on the side of the angels, by 
excluding other pedagogical resources, laid great stress 


Love and Learn! 

on this point; and its achievements seemed at first to 
justify the fondest hopes. Especially in the arts, music, 
painting, writing, young geniuses would spring up like 
mushrooms after a warm rain. The optimism was 
premature, as subsequent developments showed. Here 
and there the seed took deep roots and continued to 
yield good fruit in the form of productivity or of ap- 
preciation. But those were the exceptions which can 
be suppressed by bad methods, but produced by none. 
With the average pupil the admirable effects of the 
new method lasted only as long as the identification 
out of which they grew held. They progressed rapidly 
under the magnetic influence of an inspired teacher, in 
a warm and congenial atmosphere, fostered by friendly 
competition. When these influences disappeared or lost 
their power, when new interests took their place, all 
the wonderful achievements were quickly thrown over- 
board. This happens typically at the early stages of 
adolescence when erotic attractions and incidents, and 
the wish to join the life and interests of the adults in 
general, awaken and monopolize for some time the 
energies of the youthful mind. The extraordinary 
color-sense and the fine musical ear, the rapid acquisi- 
tion of languages and the cleverness in writing poetry, 
all these vanish in short order. After two or three 
years nothing of any value survives, and when the 
struggle of life begins in real earnest, hardly a memory 


Masks of Love and Life 

is left of the former possession of such abilities and 
attainments. The practical, not to say the humdrum 
way of life, that had been started in later adolescence: 
job-seeking, love-making, marriage, family and social 
standing, sport and club activities, and, last but worst, 
neurosis dominate the scene as if these good people 
had never enjoyed a privileged mode of education. 

The stairs built of love, identification, and sublima- 
tion, by which men are supposed to mount to the 
heights of character and culture are slippery and inse- 
cure. Love is not the only feeling the little angels are 
capable of. They have their full share of destructive 
and aggressive impulses as well. The threat of the 
loss of love makes the beloved person the target of 
such hostile instincts as jealousy and envy; the inevi- 
table frustrations will add fuel to the fire. In most 
cases, the so-called normal ones, they lose out in the 
final conflict with love; they are repressed and kept in 
the Unconscious, but not deprived of influence and 
power. In a subtle and inconspicuous way they glide 
into the formations of identification. A full analysis of 
the earliest, and consequently most forceful, identifica- 
tions shows that they are composed of antagonistic and 
discordant elements. The edifice of education is raised 
on so insecure foundations that no wonder it begins 
to crumble soon after it has been completed. 

To take a thing by force from a defeated foe, or, in 


Love and Learn! 

a still more primitive manner, incorporate him, body 
and soul, through cannibalism, was viewed as a legiti- 
mate transaction; but a gift-horse had to be looked into 
the mouth with great caution before it became ac- 
ceptable. It might be a Trojan horse smuggling all 
sorts of undesirable dangerous facts or ideas into the 
well-guarded sphere of one's personality. In particular 
does such heritage combine with this suspicion some 
of the feeling of guilt and insecurity which was caused 
by the decease of the former owner. Slipping in in- 
sidiously, he might take possession of his heir — "my 
prisoner won't let me go." The fear of becoming a 
victim instead of a conqueror of the dead stood for a 
long time in the way of the progress of civilization. 
Every generation had to make a fresh start in pro- 
ducing, for their own use, new implements, while they 
dared not tuch those left to them by their ancestors. 
The tendency to relinquish the achievements of the 
older generation, and to begin life all over again from 
scratch, has been subdued after a long struggle, but 
it is not extinct among us. 

Education is inheritance, by the living, from the 

dead. There is a deeper root, in the reluctance by 

which it is accepted, than strikes the eye. Youth does 

not want to be reminded of its infantile helplessness 

nor obsessed by the spirits of the preceding generation. 

This peculiar difficulty of human development has 


Masks of Love and Life 

to be taken as an inevitable fact. The elastic thread 
that tends to draw humanity back to its starting point 
is invisibly present everywhere. It causes the typical 
rift between children and parents. The son tends to 
disagree with the opinions of his father, the daughter 
with the taste of her mother, and both try to break 
away from the ways which have been designed for 
them. When they look lovingly on the past, it will be 
a past far removed, peopled by older generations 
that never claimed authority. Grandmother's spinning 
wheel and great-grandfather's snuff-box, with a slight 
scent of the past that has no contact with the present, 
seen through the lovely blue haze of far distance, have 
their undeniable charm. To continue their mode of 
living, with their dresses and ceremonies and prejudices, 
is the right material for pleasant day-dreams. Their 
furniture and houses are attractive, since the rules by 
which their lives were dominated, and by which they 
tried to dominate others, have become obsolete. 

The best illustration is furnished by children of our 
last pre-war generation. Everything that their parents 
had believed was discredited or discarded without 
further investigation. "Our fathers in their charming, 
naive, and uncritical way listened to atrocity stories 
instead of trying to understand the German mind. 
These Germans are really quite nice fellows if you 
have only the right key to their character." This atti- 


Love and Learn! 

hide of ironical superiority was a main factor in pro- 
ducing the stupendous blindness for the Nazis' open 
preparations for war. And yet, the next generation after 
this war will act the same way. 

The teachers are substitutes for the parental au- 
thority, but not so hallowed by sanctity and early 
memories as the originals. Their work, especially when 
it falls in the epoch of emancipation and initial inde- 
pendence, soon is overcast with apathy and oblivion, 
which is the simplest and easiest way toward its un- 
doing. The adolescents switch their thoughts away 
from them and turn toward adult life, or what they 
take for it. Many years later, the "college-educated" 
man remembers the incidents on the football fields, the 
jokes and the nicknames, the pranks and carousals, the 
rows and fights, the funny traits of the professors — 
but of the "imperishable treasures of the mind" there 
remain but a black hole and a benevolent, reminiscing 

Turning from learning again to the general issues 
of educational methods, we find ourselves today as ever 
faced by the question in which of the two we should 
put our trust; love or discipline, thrill or "drill." We 
have seen that they are both necessary, each in its own 
way; and that seems to make the answer easy. Obvi- 
ously, they have to be so combined that the advantages 
of both can be enjoyed with as little of their drawbacks 


Masks of Love and Life 

as possible. As a matter of fact, that is what peda- 
gogues have tried for a long time, but their experiments 
have not been crowned with success. 

The two methods won't mix. It's a case of trying 
the cross-breeding between a rooster and a rabbit. You 
make, shake, or heat, or cool the mixture, but after a 
short time the elements will become as separate as 
they were before. Discipline, diluted by kindness, 
loses its only advantage, reliable efficiency; and love 
tempered by strict orders and severity will find but a 
doubtful or lukewarm response — not enough to build 
on it a formative identification. Alternation between 
the extremes is still worse. Nobody can trust a kind 
and patient teacher who, at the drop of a hat, becomes 
a roaring lion. Steering on a straight and steadfast 
line is the first principle of all education. Arbitrary 
changes, intentional or not, defeat its most important 
aim, the solid formation of character. 

Neither compromise nor alternation is usable; in 
place of a pedagogical system, we have only a mass of 
more or less reliable empirical rules which are taken 
from one side or the other, as occasion serves. Educa- 
tion remains a riddle. The problem of how man is but 
hitched on to the social purposes of humanity is still 


Chapter XI 



This chapter opens like an old-fashioned novel 
with a beautiful spring evening in Fiesole. 

A crowd of tourists had gathered on the hill-top 
to enjoy the wide view over Florence and the valley of 
the Arno to the distant Tuscan hills. The big boom 
being then on, most of them were Americans. Some 
old Italian women who, in walking up and down, 
plaited and stitched the famous wide-brimmed Floren- 
tine straw-hats mingled with them in the hope of 
finding, buyers for their handicraft. 

With smiles in their eyes and smiles in every 
wrinkle, they looked gentle and winning as old women 
folk in Italy habitually do. Among the buyers was a 
stoutish middle-aged American matron with whom 
the transaction, involving five lire, didn't work out 
smoothly. With a great expenditure of sound and 
fury, emphasized and interpreted by a lavish use of 
gestures, she went on a bargaining campaign, and 
finally succeeded in beating down the price for the 


Masks of Love and Life 

equivalent of a nickel in American money, and driving 
away the pleasant smile from the face of the old 

I don't believe that she was more tight-fisted than 
the average American tourist in whom the opposite 
trend is notoriously prevalent. Nor do I think that the 
wish to earn a cheap triumph by outsmarting the other 
fellow was her motive. She was simply bored to death. 
Misled by an excusable vanity and some fine-sounding 
phrases, she had persuaded herself that she was in- 
terested in "art and culture." Naturally she had felt 
obliged to look at an endless number of old dark 
pictures and ramshackle buildings for which she had 
to feign enthusiasm while her heart yearned for her 
club meeting at home — lectures on art delivered by 
a well-dressed lady or an interesting gentleman and 
followed by a chatty tea and a bridge game. The poor 
soul, after she had got herself in the dreary situation 
of an aimless wanderer, found no better remedy against 
her boredom than any sort of activity which happened 
to come her way. Since practically all others were 
closed to her, she threw herself whole-heartedly into 
this shabby bargaining which she would have despised 
at any other place, but in Fiesole, on a beautiful spring 
evening, with the view of Florence and San Miniato. 
Art, we have been often told, softens and elevates the 


Boon or Burden? 
Now a jump to the opposite end. An analysand 


of mine heard the reading of a play in which a love- 
starved teen-age girl tries to drown herself; saved by 
a last minute rescue, she raves, in her delirium, about 
the joy of getting all the love which life had denied 
her, and dies happy. (Hanneles Himmeljahrt by 
Gerhart Hauptmann.) No work of literature had 
moved the young man so deeply as this play. He left 
the room in a hurry; as soon as he was alone he burst 
into tears and wept for a long time. This crying spell 
he described to me as wonderfully soothing, as if it 
released a heavy tension. He had no idea why the play 
had such an unusual effect on him till a forgotten 
episode of his childhood had been uncovered by 

He had lived with his mother, a widow, as her 
favorite child in undisturbed harmony. Then came a 
time when he suspected his mother of withdrawing her 
love from him because a certain man wanted to marry 
her. Together with another boy, he had evolved a 
day-dream that by diving and staying long enough 
under the water of a pond, he would find the way to a 
dreamland India. Under the disguise of this fantasy, a 
serious attempt at suicide was made. In Hannele he 
relived, without recognizing it, the saddest period of 
his childhood, but also the final silent reconciliation 
with his mother, who remained a widow. 


Masks of Love and Life 


The female counterpart to this was a young woman 
who became so entranced by a certain movie that she 
couldn't see it often enough. She thought of it all day 
and dreamed about it at night. Her childhood had been 
haunted by the fear that her widowed father would be 
lost to her as a result of a second marriage. That never 
took place; her father died while she was in her teens. 

Her other great grief was her femininity. She 
considered it as most unjust that her brother, who was 
much inferior to her in pluck and courage, should 
enjoy the privileges of a boy. In the film (Der Geiger 
von Florenz with Elisabeth Bergner) the father of the 
heroine marries in spite of her protests. She is put in a 
boarding school. Feeling unhappy and lonely, she runs 
away in the disguise of a boy. In her wanderings, she 
meets a white-haired man who offers her a seat in his 
car. A mutual discovery follows. The hair of her host 
was whitened by dust, the old man isn't really old — 
in other words, he is a rejuvenated, glorified father. 
When he finds out her true sex, the happy end becomes 

Why this film fascinated my analysand needs no 
long comment. It expressed her life's secret wish: I 
will consent to be a girl for the sake of my father's 
love. Without it, I will remain a boy. 

Our kind lady's (of Fiesole) behavior is directly 
opposite to that of my two analysands, but they have 


Boon or Burden? 

this one thing in common, viz., that their reactions are 
quite uninfluenced by aesthetic motives, properly so- 
called. The first, because she has no reaction at all 
except boredom; the two others are moved vehemently, 
but by the effect of the crude material which acci- 
dentally hit a hypersensitive, ordinarily hidden and 
protected spot in their minds. At first sight this appears 
as a mere variant of the indifference to form and 
beauty, to artistic merits, and aesthetic values just as 
the unhappy tourist felt it when she was driven through 
art galleries and churches. 

The enthusiasm, stirred up by certain congenial 
motives, is superior to the total lack of interest in form 
and content: witness these misguided lambs with their 
art books and lectures, the glib phrases and the im- 
pressive slogans, the fear of appearing "uncultured" 
or not up-to-date. Give them a piece of work, good or 
bad, in which they can feel the emotional appeal, and 
they will find the drab desert changed into green 
pastures. They will be moved to laughter or to tears 
or, still better, to a silent response, and will take to 
their heart something to keep and cherish. It will be a 
first step toward the real gifts that art and beauty 
hold; and it will do for them as much as they can 
stand in broadening and deepening their life. In our 
own day, this blessed event is more likely to happen in 
the realm of literature than with paintings or plastic 


Masks of Love and Life 

art. Theirs was an epoch when the distance between a 
painter who thinks with his eyes and the average man 
could be easily bridged. But since nowadays, most 
people are wont to look at a picture with their brains, 
the author and his public are nearer to each other; 
nearest, of course, are the movies. 

The first condition, in any case, is that they must 
throw away their guide-book or art theories and close 
their ears to all literary comments. The worst prepara- 
tion for a genuine reaction is to learn about it before- 
hand till one is all tense with expectation. I remember 
having listened to one part of myself asking the other 
ironically: "Are you feeling properly exalted?" The 
great moments came when I was unprepared for them 
as when I came to Assisi to see the Giotto frescoes and 
was struck by the facade of San Rufino. 

To revert to those two analysands of mine, it would 
be unjust to say that it was the "plot" alone without 
the least regard to form and art that had affected them. 
The same situations, presented in a different way, 
shown in another perspective, with awkwardly designed 
effects and clumsy motivations would not have pro- 
duced the same impressions, but only a slight flutter 
that left hardly any traces in memory. 

Such responses, however, are of a strictly personal 
nature. Although style, technique, the craftsmanship of 


Boon or Burden? 

the artist are not irrelevant, it is the content, the what, 
not the how, which is the deciding factor in this stage. 
His sensitivity reacts only to those subjects which touch 
on particular events and special emotional experiences 
of the individual's life. Is it right to class the reaction 
pattern to such personal matters, even when they 
appear in the guise of art, as aesthetic? 

It matters little how it is classified. In any case, 
it is the thin edge of the wedge by which genuinely 
alive feeling enters. Everyone's mind, however dried 
out, conventional, and matter-of-fact, is somewhere 
open to the illusion which gives him, one might almost 
say, restores to him that part of his life which he has 
missed in living. This is the source from which spring 
all experiences of beauty. The simplest people, by 
reacting to the reproduction of might-have-been situa- 
tions and calling up from their grave dead and buried 
possibilities, reach the first rungs on the ladder of art. 
Although not yet, able to arrive at the distinction be- 
tween originality and imitation, between true and 
false, between feeling and sentimentality, they have 
made a momentous move toward becoming — not 
critics but an appreciative and assimilating audience. 
That is more than can be gotten by teaching aesthetic 
theory or instruction in the history of art. 

This first step does not require any special qualifica- 
tions. It leads only so far as everybody can get to with 


Masks of Love and Life 

ease, and stops within the confines of vulgarity. At 
this stage of the game, a picture must look pretty and 
tell a story or teach a pleasing moral. Novels or any 
other kind of fiction must have a happy or a senti- 
mental ending. They have to be patterned on one of 
the typical day-dreams which have not lost their at- 
tractiveness from the times of hoary antiquity to this 
day, as: poor boy marries heiress, virtuous heroine 
rescued at last minute from villain, etc. Those which 
impressed my two analysands, by appealing to less 
ordinary wishes, are just a mite superior to the regular, 
glib, and trivial kind. 

From here on, the road becomes considerably 
steeper and stonier. Mere pleasantness is now disre- 
garded or at least looked at askance. The minor brands 
or smaller forms of beauty which can be handed out 
and consumed without much effort lose their privi- 
leged position. New lines of distinctions are drawn. 
To take up a book to fill an idle hour and dropping it 
when a more serious business — viz., a bridge-game — 
calls, to feel a part of a warm and friendly audience in 
the theatre, to go for a companionable visit to "nature" 
or to a museum (sort of art-picnic), all this easygoing 
playing around is recognized as something absolutely 
different from the moments when the tiniest bit of a 
new world reveals itself. 

In order to perceive and assimilate any sort of art, 


Boon or Burden? 

the mind must adapt itself to it and that means be- 
coming itself beautiful. (Of course, only so far and so 
long as the impact lasts.) This metamorphosis, or 
whatever it may be called, excludes, for the time being, 
the rest of the world just as much as love does it. To 
make it a sociable affair is quite out of the question. 
The mind, entirely given over to the triumphant entry 
of beauty, retires from everything else and isolates 
itself in the same way as it does in the act of creative 

This principle of intrinsic identity between the 
productive and the receptive process is the basis of the 
communion by art. Sophistication or simplicity makes 
no difference. Its intensity varies much, but not its 
fundamental character. How about the application of 
the principle ? Is it necessary for the recipient to wait 
for the right moment just as the creative artist must 
do for his inspiration? 

Receiving is evidently a more general and more 
accessible attainment than creating. If it were other- 
wise, it would be superfluous to depend on the pro- 
ductivity of others and live spiritually by borrowing 
from their wealth. The work of the greatest artist does 
not give us fantastically strange emotions — else we 
could not respond to its message: it opens regions of 
our own self that were hidden to us; it lets voices in 
us speak that had been silenced long, long ago. It 


Masks of Love and Life 

makes us pass through adventures of the mind which 
we could otherwise not encounter since we never knew 
how to find them. In short, we can fly with the wings 
it lends us and need not try in vain our own, stubby 

The same way leads to the beauty of nature; we 
owe our sensibility for its offerings to the accumulated 
feats of a long series of artists, both forgotten and 
unforgotten ones, whose unbroken line reaches down 
to the earliest history of mankind. We would not be 
able to see in our own days the harmony of lines or 
grace of composition had the old cave-dweller artists 
not discovered it and handed their inspiration down 
through the traditions of untold generations. Their 
bards and painters and sculptors — and their prophets 
and sorcerers into the bargain — helped to discover 
new, hitherto unknown beauties. In their work they 
made what they found manifest to the eyes, and 
proclaimed it to the ears and instilled it into the minds 
of their — often reluctant and unwilling — audience; 
through the medium of harmony in sound, or color, 
or line or in the arrangement of words they convinced, 
first a few of their contemporaries, then more and more 
of the subsequent generations, that they had uncov- 
ered a new kind of beauty which could be enjoyed by 
all men of good will. The artists and kindred pro- 
phetic souls have never imitated the beauty of nature; 


Boon or Burden? 

they created it. Without their mission we would still 
live in a strange, empty, world, haunted by demons. 
We owe to their legacy beauty and the moments of 
happiness which it gives. We perceive it through the 
eye of the primitive carver who scratched a reindeer 
on the surface of the rock as well as through the eyes 
of the "ultra-modern" painter whose work we admired 
yesterday, and through the eyes of the uncounted 
number of creative artists standing between the first 
and the last. 

The dark and desolate world gets filled with light 
and gods when our fantasy is strong enough to let all 
its creative magic work. Left without guidance and 
aid, it performs but minor chores, but amends are 
made by those who are guided by a genius, a "daimon," 
of their own; they are, with rare exceptions, eager to 
let all the p. s. p. partake of their bounty of vision. 
In all of us there is a bit of Caliban: 

in dreaming 
The clouds methought would open and show riches 
Ready to drop on me; that when I waked 
I cried to dream again. 

Now and then is the gift to dream with open eyes 
bestowed on the poor, earthbound monster. 

After this imperfect and much foreshortened 


Masks of Love and Life 

sketch of the meaning of great art, the question crops 
up why its acceptance is such a rare event, why it is so 
often joyfully trampled in the dust. It is evidently not 
enough that open-minded persons of general goodwill 
embark on an adventure of looking at pictures, reading 
poetry, or staring at a celebrated piece of scenery, to 
bring it about that their minds and beauty meet. What 
had happened in Fiesole and happens in many, many 
other places shows that a merely external rendezvous 
is not sufficient. The meeting must take place under a 
favorable constellation of the powers within to bear 
fruit. A preparation, a ceremony of initiation is 
sometimes helpful, or a smile of encouragement which 
calls out to those who linger at the threshold of the 
open door: "Introite, nam et hie dii sunt" (Come in, 
for here too are gods.) These hints, however, must 
not be taken as contradicting the former statement that 
preparations and expectations stand in the way of the 
genuine feeling which beauty inspires. 

Actually there are two precepts pointing in 
divergent directions; however, they can co-exist since 
they belong to two different psychic levels. 

One of them has what we may call the preparatory 
function to get the stones out of the way so that man 
and beauty can meet without undue difficulties. Here 
belongs the job to keep the masterworks of art acces- 
sible and to take care that they are not lost or ruined 


Boon or Burden? 

or pushed into some dark corner; furthermore, to 
retrieve those which undeservedly have fallen into 
oblivion. It holds the key to the storehouse of the past 
where our precious possessions get so easily jumbled 
or defaced. All these highly important and notable 
duties which demand industry, probity, intelligence 
and many other high qualities are performed by experts 
who collect and explore, repair and restore, explain 
and comment, group and classify, date and compare 
what the past has bequeathed to us or the present time 
produces, all the music, poetry, painting, sculpture, 
architecture, and branches of art. They add to it their 
aesthetic theories about the origin, style, and value and 
about the historical, economic, or psychological factors. 
Without this constant endeavor and sage advice the 
art lover would be helpless. He couldn't dig up out of 
the immense debris left by the past and accumulated by 
vanished nations and cultures, like the mounds of 
kitchen refuse of the ancient lake-dwellers, the sort of 
work that would appeal to his taste. With expert 
guidance at his side, he can rely on something better 
than sheer good luck when he tries to find what he 
wants without knowing it. 

The expert does a great deal more for the general 
public or the portion of it interested in art and beauty. 
Every work contains, besides its stock of timeless and 
universal appeal, a great many other components which 


Masks of Love and Life 

are strictly bound up with the artist's epoch, his social 
place, the school to which he belonged, etc. The 
language, customs, manners, morals, religious views, 
social ideals of the artist himself and of his time imbue 
his work with their flavor. 

The Twelfth Night and The Pickwick Papers to 
cite only the most familiar instances are parcels tied 
up with many knots which are difficult to open for 
one who doesn't know how the Elizabethans or early 
Victorians managed their affairs, what their houses, 
furniture, and gardens looked like, what was consid- 
ered by them as correct behavior and in good taste, and 
a thousand similar facts. If those things could be 
eliminated, much as the hard shell that must be 
cracked, the expert and his knowledge would be un- 
necessary, except for snobs and highbrows. But in art, 
there is no shell nor kernel; it is, as Goethe says of 
nature: "all together at once." 

Natur hat weder Kern noch Schale 
Alles ist sie mit einen Male. 

A work of art is first and last an organic entity 
that can't be dissolved into its different elements, the 
contemporaneous and accidental put to one side, the 
immortal and eternal to the other. In attempts of 
purification, simplification, and modernization, even 
the best of it, the specific aroma gets invariably lost. 


Boon or Burden? 

In contrast with these external contrivances, the 
genuine emotional response to beauty goes by its own 
independent rules. Nothing can be done to further it 
by goodwill; attention, concentration, and painstaking 
preparations are all in vain. The expert knowledge 
deflects the mind when it is called in at these moments. 
By building up a wall of solid interest in the historical 
matter and the technique, it obstructs the incoming 
flood of feeling. The sudden fascination by the on- 
rush of new sensations and surprising emotions can 
happen only where these walls have never been erected, 
or after they are crumbling. Only when the mind 
forgets every connection with theory and knowledge, 
it is ready to be captured by the mystery of beauty. 
(This may be done by a work that one had known for 
a long time without getting a deep impression. Unex- 
pectedly, when the auspicious moment is there, presto, 

However, the right attitude for receiving is not 
merely passive. The passivity is imposed on the con- 
scious part of the mind; the less it puts its worries, 
wishes, and preoccupations to the fore, the more free 
and unencumbered are the functions of acceptance and 
unconscious response which alone can perform the 
assimilation of new beauty. The Unconscious will react 
with its customary unambiguous intensity to the new 
sensations by which some of its own, long buried, are 


Masks of Love and Life 

resuscitated, and thus an emotional experience is born 
with neither help nor hindrance from the Ego. 

The two divergent processes: external preparation 
and internal acceptance quite often get in one another's 
way. Since the latter started in the unconscious part of 
the mind, no method or plan is available by which 
these entanglements could be avoided. Yet, although 
no direct cooperation of the two can be hoped for, they 
help one another indirectly, each with its face turned 
the other way. On the conscious side, a great mass of 
impressions which in itself is inert and powerless, and 
doesn't share actively in the ushering in or welcoming 
the "great moment," is, nevertheless, useful for adapt- 
ing its message to the rest of the personality and 
making it a permanent fixture to which the mind can 
turn when it feels the desire for a fuller life. Without 
this help, the newly acquired beauty would drift on the 
waves of consciousness like an anchorless boat and soon 
get engulfed. 

This process of resurrecting the dead and buried 
unconscious, and the subsequent acceptance of a new 
emotional content — not identical with the unconscious, 
but reintroducing new, hitherto unknown, emanations 
of it into the Ego — this process is essentially identical 
with the creative act which it repeats. The creator is 
in the same psychic situation while his mind collects 
a great deal of material for a purpose of which it is 


Boon or Burden? 

ignorant. This rubbish heap of memory-roots, half- 
forgotten sensations, studies in expression by elements 
of forms becomes galvanized by the electric spark of 
the great moment which, in this case, we distinguish 
by the name of inspiration. Remote and discordant 
things are brought together and become an organic 
entity. After that comes the wearisome, but by no 
means contemptible, toil of the artist's Ego in putting 
order and rhythm, measure and gradation into the gift 
that his inspirations left behind. 

The best practical advice about "how to enjoy art" 
is to study everything connected with it: history, 
aesthetic theory, technical points, etc., but without any 
inention to employ this knowledge otherwise than to 
satisfy a student's curiosity. It is like going to the 
woods and hills or wherever one feels inclined and 
interested, not with the intention of the marksman who 
is anxiously on the lookout for game, but with an alert 
and open mind. If he goes all by himself and stays 
aloof from gossips and slogans, he will sooner or later 
find his bird of paradise. 

Beauty is not sociable. Its cult demands silence. 
The less said about it the better. 

C 235 } 

Chapter XII 


"A man came by chance, saw the bird and just to 
pass the time, destroyed it." 

"Judith: 'Tis said that mercy you never show; 

You are a tiny bit naughty don't you 
Holof ernes: It's not so bad as all that. I just have 
the habit of destroying everything." 

"And the worst is that everyone who sounds his own 
mind will find "that our inner wishes, for the greater 
part, come to life and are nourished at the expense of 
other people." 

* * * * 

These three quotations, respectively from a tragedy, 
a parody, and an essay, by three great authors, the first 
a famous Russian (Tchekhov), the other a Viennese, 
and known to few outside his home town (Nestroy) , 
the third the father of all essayists (Montaigne), tell 


The Foundations of Hate 

the same story: That the destructive tendencies are an 
integral part of human nature, existing through all the 
ages of man, and all the stages of civilization, not less 
operative, although often more eagerly denied among 
us, than among our barbarian ancestry. Being present 
always and everywhere, it is often disregarded like the 
air we breathe or considered as an accessory of life 
without separate existence. In describing it, words like 
"impulse" or "urge" are overemphatic. It requires so 
little energy and effort and affords — when not com- 
bined with other, more violent effects — such a slight 
feeling of satisfaction that it gives the impression of 
an almost automatic act, like yawning or sneezing, or 
peristalsis, or in the way of a well conditioned reflex. 
A "biological trend" an "innate drift" — such names 
sound more appropriate. 

Some reasons for this ubiquity and anonymity are 
obvious — and vague. To be active is the rule for 
all organisms, this being their only means of self- 
realization. Destruction is for the human species, by a 
wide margin, the easiest form of activity. The baby 
smashes its toy; musing "absent-mindedly" the man 
breaks a match, the lover plucks the petals from the 
flower; the small boy tramples on ants; and the dictator 
sends untold numbers of men and women to the gas 
chamber; each of them destroys the thing that's most 
handy to him. 


The Foundations of Hate 

Besides, destruction gives a feeling of superiority. 
It stands to reason that the destroyer must be stronger, 
more intelligent, of a higher race, or better beloved by 
the gods, than the destroyed. 

The power which bestows on such a trend a uni- 
versal and unemotional cogency lies probably beyond 
the limits of what is dreamed in our philosophy, reach- 
ing deep down to the beginnings of biological evo- 
lution. It can be conceived as embodied and inherent 
in all organic life. 

The destructive trend, pure and simple, unadulter- 
ated by other motives from wherever they may 
originate, goes its way in perfect innocence, with malice 
to none. When the victim is mute, it is easy to ignore 
its point of view. When it complains, it makes little 
difference, since he who inflicts pain feels nothing of it, 
not even an observable degree of pleasure. He simply 
doesn't understand why all this fuss is made. His own 
reactions are so infinitesimal, and the situation seems 
to him so perfectly natural that it offers no foothold 
for a feeling of guilt. 

The sky ceases to be so serene and cloudless the 
moment this simple innocence is spoiled by a fusion 
with drives of a more vehement character and yielding 
a higher degree of satisfaction. The intensity and 
protean mutability of erotic impulses enables them to 
slip in here as easily as anywhere else, through all sorts 


The Foundations of Hate 

of loopholes. When cruelty and destruction are the 
acknowledged means of sexual satisfaction, science 
speaks of sadism; other, not less dangerous mixtures 
figure in the popular belief under the forms of various 
superstitions, embodied as the devil, the witch, the imp, 
the ogre, or the dragon. By these names were expressed 
the abhorrence and rejection, but also remorse and the 
feeling of helplessness in the grip of such a sinister 

The sexual element of cruelty which is embodied 
in sadism can be traced through close observation. Even 
when it is diluted by overspreading it with conventional 
forms, certain signs will give away its true nature. For 
instance, the elation by which so many, otherwise good- 
natured people, grasp the opportunity to exercise some 
petty tyranny; or the pleasure manifested in playing 
one of those little tricks of malevolence, by laying an 
innocent person open to ridicule, by forgetting a mes- 
sage, leaving a question unanswered, by interrupting 
an argument or story at its culminating point, or by 
breaking up a pleasant party. The joy felt by most 
people at the first moment they hear a piece of 
malicious gossip about their friends is proverbial, as is 
LaRochefoucauld's famous aphorism. It is an indi- 
cation of the same factor that the picking of a preferred 
victim to be permanently teased, annoyed, or hurt is 
not less marked and faithful and apparently groundless 


Masks of Love and Life 

than a lover's choice; both are, in fact, face and obverse 
of the same medal. 

With some of the P. s. P., aggression is a prepond- 
erant erotic trait and the necessary stepping-stone to 
sexual stimulation, either in fantasy or practice. 
Eventually the "normal" (quotes and question mark) 
attitude is maintained as a front and protection from 
external unpleasantness or inner inhibition. 

While the suppressed urge is satisfied in the guise 
of playfulness, neverthelesss when a partner is found 
who enters into the spirit of the game, a sort of private 
theatrical is acted with great gusto. 

Sometimes eroticism and aggression get so mixed 
up, especially in adolescence, that it is impossible to 
say from which side the original impetus comes or 
whether the intention to give pleasure or cause pain 
is paramount. 

Aggression, as a means of release of tension, has 
the advantage that it will produce energetic reactions, 
whereas it is a highly frustrating situation to be driven 
into an impulsive action and then left in the void, with- 
out response. Moreover, aggression is often the best 
way to earn love by stirring up a violent interest; 
although at first not a favorable one, it ties a bond 
of emotional relations; antipathy and hate can be 
changed more easily into love than absolute 


The Foundations of Hate 

In sadism without disguise and mitigation, the 
destructive impulse reaches the height of Satanic per- 
fection. To the fierceness of concentrated sexuality is 
added the revolt against the inherent rule of orgasm. 
These men — women don't go all the way to the bitter 
end — revolt against the constraint which forces them 
to pay for the orgasm with a part of their own, over- 
valued self, and wreak their resentment violently on the 
-victim who had the misfortune of provoking their 
passion. It is the stern law of retaliation, taking a life 
for the momentary loss of life. 

After this prologue and curtain raiser, the main 
actor comes on the stage: Hate. A better knowledge 
of the elements of which it is composed and of the 
way it develops might help to understand and even, 
now and then, to soften the great public catastrophes 
of which our time had more than its fair share. 

Hate is an entity in its own right, not inverted love, 
nor a sort of counterpart to it; still less is it human 
kindness worn thin. It has this one fundamental 
condition in common with love that it cannot exist 
till the formation of an organized personality has been 
well under way. Before the stage of an integrated Ego 
is reached, the affects are too mercurial and not suffi- 
ciently bound together to be welded into a stable unit. 
We find in this earlier state outbursts of the destructive 
impulse galore, but not hate. Pure hate does not turn 


Masks of Love and Life 

into love; the appearance of such redemptions is 
misleading. It can happen only in cases where love 
was present from the beginning, but for some reason 
or other had to stay behind the mask of hate — which 
a lover can wear with less restraint than the expression 
of indifference — and found an outlet by mixed affects 
and inconsistent acts. Finally the great occasion comes 
and the disguise is quickly dropped. Beatrice and 
Benedict are in love with each other all the time while 
they try their darndest to keep the secret of their passion 
to themselves and one another. That they fall into 
the clumsy trap, prepared by their friends, is not due 
to their credulity or denseness, but because it offers 
them a golden opportunity for ceasing to play the 
comedy of hate to which they clung till then in good 
faith, but much against their real wishes. 

The change from love to hate* is equally not so 
much a transformation as a shifting of emphasis. It 
happens more often than the opposite process, being 
founded on a broader, more general basis. The de- 
structive tendency is always present, and any sufficiently 
arousing incident will fan it into downright hatred. 
This newborn hate may replace love entirely or in 
part, openly and professedly, or under disguise. It is 
not said that the lover must become aware of the 
change, but the beloved will not be long in doubt. 
The accession of hate to love happens frequently 


The Foundations of Hate 

when the desire is most ardent. The lover is over- 
sensitive to every denial of ambiguity, every sign that 
his passion is not responded to by an equal fervor. 
The beloved one's coolness stands between his wishes 
and their gratification, interposes obstacles between 
the cup and the thirsting mouth. The hopeless struggle 
to compel a self-surrender that is not granted, em- 
bittered by jealousy, be it real or imaginary, leads to 
the feeling of relentless frustration in those whose 
love is incapable of self-abandon. The way he clears 
his throat, blows his nose, smiles and snickers, seems 
a crime in itself. Hence hate becomes sometimes the 
companion and fellow-traveller, the alter ego of pas- 
sion, the shadow which eventually may engulf the 

Hate is not reserved solely for beloved ones — past, 
present or future: it also attacks strangers with perfect 
impartiality. Whoever stands in the way of a wish- 
fulfillment —"Off with his head," as the Queen of 
Hearts used to say. It is hardly necessary to dwell on 
the fact that hate, when once aroused, is apt to be 
tough and long-lived. Amusing, and perhaps more 
instructive, is the observation of the sudden flashes 
when, aroused by some passing, often minimal, cause, 
the destruction impulse flickers up and becomes 
focussed on an enemy of the moment. Although it 
may be all over in a minute, while it lasts it is genuine 


Masks of Love and Life 

hate with all its grim denial of the adversary's right 

to live. 

Such a target of hate may become the man who is 
at the ticket window, asking, we feel certain, a lot of 
ridiculous questions, while we wait in the queue, or 
the man who inadvertently trod on our corn, or the 
mailman who doesn't bring the impatiently expected 
letter, or the waiter who keeps us hungry and waiting 
for two and a-half eternities — in a word, generally 
everyone who stands in our way, be it literally or 
figuratively. Not that this feeling is always unjustified. 
The pleasure in causing frustration is for most people 
a welcome by-product of every refusal that they have 
to deal out. One of these stories which hide deep 
psychological insight behind a grin describes this 
beautiful human trait: Some hungry travellers come to 
an inn and ask the hostess to be served some meat; 
when they are told that no meat is in the house they 
demand eggs, cheese, finally bread, but the answer is 
always the same. Resigned, they depart. After a short 
while they see the shouting hostess running after their 
car. She is quite out of breath when she reaches them 
and just able to bring out the words: "I wanted to tell 
you that I haven't got peanut-butter either." 

The amount of hate aroused by diminutive provo- 
cations is often out of proportion and, therefore, un- 
predictable. This is due to the transmission or 


The Foundations of Hate 

inheritance of affects which are handed down from the 
earliest frustration through a long series of successors. 
Each new substitute or "image" may get it all, fresh 
and frothy from the tap, when it is absorbed by an 
actual situation which is apt to arouse the old feeling 
of being wronged. The question: for how much the 
substitute is accountable is but of secondary importance. 
In every living hate a long line of dead ancestors comes 
to life. Those on whose love and tenderness the child 
depends most are also the first and foremost to 
cause frustrations, deprivations, and jealousies, thereby 
arousing and perpetuating ambivalence of feeling — 
love mixed with hate. 

Since the human mind dislikes looking at the long 
perspective leading back to the first hate, its infantile 
origin falls an easy prey to repression. The affect 
prefers to pounce at its object in the present; and 
ignores the associations which connect it with predeces- 
sors in the dim past. An unrecognized resemblance 
will produce a vague antipathy, which ripens easily 
into hate if any offence, even the slightest, gives the 
pretence of a just cause. The chosen foe gets the whole 
barrage of aversion. His mental picture is put into 
the rogue's gallery, but is not always kept there. When 
a new offender replaces him, the former hate is for- 
gotten and even forgiven, (r/. Samuel Johnson: 
"Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.") 


Masks of Love and Life 

Hate is often camouflaged by high-sounding names, 
but it is not cast into so many diversified and whimsical 
shapes as love. It works more in the realm of facts 
than in that of fancies. A Hassgesang (Hymn of hate) 
is always artificial, — namely the song, not the hate. 
The wish to destroy or to cause suffering as an end 
in itself, without any further positive motive, is not 
an incitement for the poetic mood. 

The only worthwhile distinction between different 
kinds of hate is the one of a higher and lower grade 
of intensity. When the affect is only a momentary 
anger, as against the man standing in the way, the 
provocation dies with his presence. His disappearance 
cuts short all further aggressiveness. "Keep the fellow 
out of my sight; I want to forget that he ever crossed 
my path and then I shall have nothing against him. 
Actually I feel ashamed of my anger," would be the 
thoughts, if they were lifted out of the stream of 
consciousness. This pocket edition of hate leads to the 
avoidance of the obnoxious figure; it feels perfectly 
satisfied with the simple solution of staying away. 

It is otherwise with its big brother, the deadly giant 
of hate. He is not so easily assuaged and wants to 
trample down, torture, kill in real earnest. The removal 
of its unfortunate object from the field of vision makes 
no difference to him. The intensity of the affect is too 
high, the conviction that no peace can be found till it 


The Foundations of Hate 

is gratified too deep-rooted to get extinguished or 
diminished by superficial measures. "I have hated all 
the night," as Bismarck, who, if anyone did, has de- 
served the title of a "good hater," once said of his 

Instead of trying to forget, the passionate hater 
clings closely to the object of his hate and keeps his 
eyes constantly on it; he is eager to know all the details 
of its life and everything about its personal likes and 
dislikes, letting his thoughts dwell on them with the 
zeal of the most devoted lover. He rejoices when he 
discovers a vulnerable spot which offers occasion for 
aggression, or an ugly trait which promises to feed 
his hate anew. He feels driven to nurse and nourish 
this major interest, which eventually becomes the con- 
tent and mainstay of his life. 

A wide choice of small, but intense, torments lies 
open for anyone who hovers near his victim and 
knows how to hit a sensitive spot, which even a 
mediocre intellect will succeed in doing when prompted 
by hate. There is no law against hurting sensitive ears 
with cacophonous noises, no protection against the dis- 
ruption of every attempt at concentration by unneces- 
sary questions or against spoiling a fine view by an 
"ornamental" fence. When the pursuer does not care 
for such crude tricks and gets up to the higher grades 
of moral torments, the possibilities become unlimited. 


Masks of Love and Life 

Allusions, a few poisonous words, trivialities held to- 
gether by a veiled barb — the list is endless; and every- 
one can add to it from his own memories of suffering. 
(The pain that we have inflicted is not so present to 
our mind.) The worst about these methods of psychic 
torment is that the Super-Ego inclines to be more 
lenient about them, and eventually can be induced to 
foster them by its solemn approval. They are easily 
harbored under the cloak of justice, discipline, truth- 
fulness, or "a real friend's duty," or even as love and 
charity. "I want to tell you the truth," "I say this for 
your own good," "I feel obliged not to remain silent," 
are ominous figures of speech. 

Hate, by establishing a close proximity, and lasting 
over a long period, forms a bond between the hater and 
the hated. To the motives of morality and the social 
restrictions which prohibit the destruction of the 
hatred, a new and very curious one is added. "You 
cannot eat your enemy and have him," — and if you 
don't have him you cannot make him suffer any longer. 
In this case, hate must needs sacrifice its primary 
objective, and is bound to seek the preservation of the 
enemy instead of his destruction.* The intensity of 
the passion is not abated by this reversal of purpose. 
The result is a permanent union, a sort of marriage- 

* This does not seem to be in accord with the facts of religious, 
racial, and political hatreds. "Off with his head" is more likely, as in 
the case of the typical Nazis, the wish, and, alas, its execution. 

— Editor. 


The Foundations of Hate 

bond, consecrated by hate. The best part of the ener- 
gies are devoted to this aim so that the rest of the 
hater's existence becomes barren and empty. 

Hate can perform great tasks in shifting the accents 
of life from one point to another, in dividing indi- 
viduals and — this is its highest attainment — even in 
uniting and welding them. With its help, groups can 
be formed and cemented; in unscrupulous hands, it 
becomes the medium for shaping the mass-mind into 
a tool of destruction. 


Chapter XIII 

To do a job in the most effective way, the first 
thing needed is to know exactly the right point for 
starting it. Every successful demagogue who uses the 
destructive trends for his purpose conforms to this rule 
and begins by founding a systematic school of hating. 
Once he has fixed the point where the prospective 
pupils are found wanting in self-control and rationality, 
under the impact of animosities, he can without much 
difficulty, induce them to take the first step in the 
desired direction. After that has been achieved, their 
power of sales resistance is broken down; the rest is 
child's play of "follow the leader." The momentous 
question is: What shall be chosen as the best subject- 
matter for the first lesson? 

Man-hatred cannot become a strong growth without 
roots on the hard soil of reality. Unlike love, which 
gets abundant nourishment from fantasy, it asks for an 
object which is close enough to keep the emotion on 
the boil, it does not get thrilled by the "princesse 

[ 250 ] 

School For Hate 

lointaine"* like a lovesick troubadour. It is aroused 
only by objects which are visible to its myopic eyes 
and tangible for its clumsy fists. To love even at an 
indefinite distance is no obstacle, whereas it would be 
difficult to hate God consistently, because "he never 
puts himself in our way," as Goethe explains it. 

The first lesson, therefore, must be an object-lesson, 
with the material for it on display in the classroom. 
A further condition: the object must lend itself to the 
practical demonstration of outbreaks of hatred; and 
since it is highly improbable that it will yield without 
protest, it must be weak enough to be defenseless. The 
best material will be a small minority which is, by some 
mark or other, stamped as different. The others, that 
is, those who stand aside and are not yet well qualified 
as pupils will easily see that they are unlike the chosen 
scapegoat and thus feel relieved, perhaps flattered. This 
has the added advantage that such minorities, even 
when the actual difference is minute, are regarded by 
the average man with suspicion or aversion. It is 
imperative to use already existing antipathies as the 
seeds of hate. 

The attack on the members of this group must not 
be academic or in theory, but strictly realistic and 
factual. It has to be limited, not out of regard for 
fairness and decency, but because it would not be wise 

* "Distant princess." 


Masks of Love and Life 

to go with this first step farther than can be done with- 
out incurring punishment or sanctions of some sort. 
It is not expedient to begin by killing, but other forms 
of brutality and willful destruction are used freely. 
Acts which, under normal circumstances, are consid- 
ered as repulsive, like desecration of the dead, are 
peculiarly welcome. They prove the wickedness of 
the victim by way of logical inference that the crime 
must suit the punishment. By these exploits, hate and 
its closely related sadistic impulses get just enough 
satisfaction to arouse the appetite for more. 

It will be most advantageous if this minority can 
be brought into some definite relation with the enemies 
("former enemies" they are called for the time being) 
who are hated, but as yet feared because they seem too 
powerful to warrant a direct aggression. To hit the 
sack, meaning the donkey, has always been a popular 
sport. It does not matter that the affirmation of such a 
connection is obviously nonsensical or self -contradictory. 
Masses form their opinions by affects, and are not 
impressed by the correctness of logical deduction. For 
instance, the Jews are accused as "the international 
bankers" and made responsible for capitalistic ex- 
ploitation and at the same time as the wire-pullers of 
Bolshevism and wholesale expropriation. 

The successful truculent campaign against the help- 
less minority becomes the symbol and forerunner of 


School For Hate 

the promised triumph over the victorious enemy. His 
inertia and impending fall is proved by his failure to 
come to the rescue of his supposed ally. 

The second lesson consists in teaching the reasons 
for hating. It would be a fatal error to begin with 
arguments. The affects must be well under way so 
that the willingness to accept arguments, any kind of 
arguments, for one's own side, and to turn a deaf ear 
to the opponent, is already established beyond doubt. 
The value of these arguments does not consist in their 
coherence or plausibility, but in their Simon-pure 
simplicity. They have a more important use than the 
mere ramming in of already formed convictions. They 
occupy the minds of the pupils in the pauses when 
direct aggressive actions can be neither undertaken nor 
planned, and hinder any attempt to step out of the 
prescribed track. They serve this purpose best if they 
are monotonous and endlessly repeated in a rhythmical 
singsong. Slight variations are allowed, but every evo- 
lution of their contents or closer adaptation to reality 
is banned. 

The typical arguments which have been used by 
every brand of Fascism, may serve as illustration. 

"Lebensraum" — our nation has no sufficient space 
for its natural growth, and, therefore, a right to take 
away some of their space from "decadent" nations 
which grow at a slower rate or not at all. Side by side 


Masks of Love and Life 

with that, runs the insistence that not enough children 
are produced, and more are needed, which is pushed 
forward by propaganda, and, as far as possible, by 
direct pressure. A higher birthrate must be built up 
by hook or crook as a necessary means for "strengthen- 
ing our people." This glaring self-contradiction is 
serenely accepted, and the real, cause which underlies 
both arguments is kept in obscurity. It is: preparation 
for war. 

A more insidious argument is the "social insecurity 
of the capitalistic system," as compared with the 
assured place every individual used to hold in the 
feudal or guild state. In fact, the margin of existence 
under pre-capitalistic conditions was for the common 
man so narrow that every incident endangered it. Flood 
or fire, epidemics and pests, drought or storm could 
bring ruin or starvation every day, year in and out. No 
protection was known, no help possible. "Social se- 
curity" was felt as a general desire no less than now, 
but it was attributed to a better world, hoped for beyond 
the grave, but not considered attainable in this life, 
just as flying was an accomplishment of the winged 
angels in heaven, but not fit for men on this side of 
the grave. The new period of world development, 
initiated by the industrial age, whatever wrongs it has 
done to humanity, in other respects, instilled in men 
the expectation that social security, as well as flying, 


School For Hate 

can be achieved during our life-time. With this ex- 
pectation arose, for the first time, the general demand 
to have actually accomplished what was demonstrably 

For this logical and justified new program, Fascism 
substituted the call for the return to conditions when 
social progress was not even within sight, using a 
sleight-of-hand argument to draw the conclusion that 
in, days when it didn't exist, its demands must have 
been fulfilled in other ways. 

At this stage of the lessons, more and more in- 
sistence is put on the general malignity, impotence, 
and inferiority of the enemy. He is now no longer 
symbolically represented by a small minority, but com- 
prises a vast, although not clearly defined, body of 
peoples. The expansion is performed by the simple 
expedient of calling all those who are to be included 
in this group the helpmates, serfs, deluded victims, 
secret masters, wire-pullers, or fellow travellers of 
those who have been already placed within it. The 
nature of the hateful qualities which are ascribed to 
these new enemies is not of special importance, but the 
purpose will be served best by "projection"; i.e., by 
attributing to them what has been implanted and 
fostered under the disguise of some elaborate and 
heroical name in the pupil's mind, but in reality 
cruelty, brutality, sadistic lust. The plan of aggression, 


Masks of Love and Life 

while one's own attack is in the process of preparation, 
must be most emphatically attributed to the adversary. 
Minds which are eager to assault will be well prepared 
to believe it. 

The third lesson is on the subject: "ruthlessness — 
the guarantee of victory." Put it ahead of everything 
else, that is the first condition for winning all you 
want. If you let yourself be deflected by fairness, justice, 
or compassion you will never attain your goal. Stop- 
ping half-way for moral considerations is shameful 
and dangerous. You must have it fixed in your mind 
that you are permanently at war with your enemies, 
and that everyone except your fellow-haters is a 
potential enemy. If the time for open warfare has not 
yet arrived, you must try to injure your enemies' cause 
by deception, espionage, and conspiracy. If it takes 
him a long time to find out that he is already in the 
midst of warfare, so much the better for you, but it 
must not induce you to relax in your ruthlessness. You 
know that it is war and that wars are won by those who 
do not spare their enemies. "Follow your hate to the 
utmost limit and you will become the masters of the 

The fourth lesson is on terrorism. The circle in- 
cluding the "enemies" is now enlarged to the maximal 
circumference. Everyone who is not strictly on the 
side of the pupils, or does not care to be indoctrinated 


School For Hate 

in the same way, is a declared enemy. Friend or foe — 
no other choice is open: tertium non datur* To be 
not a friend up to the hilt is equivalent to being a 
declared foe, who has to be given a taste of the blade, 
must be hunted down, tortured, killed, exterminated. 
The teaching is simple, and again not left to theory or 
speculation, but shown by constant practise of brutality. 
It says: "Get on our bandwagon and ride to triumph, 
stay off it and it will roll over you and smash you. Now 
choose — but quick, we have no time to lose." 

A necessary component of this wholesale terrorism 
is the condemnation, which means forcible extinction, 
of any doubt or deviation, including the most personal 
matters that have nothing to do with power and politics 
(Gleichschaltung) . The principle that everything must 
be answered by a simple "Yes" or "No" is strictly and 
universally maintained. Fascism vies with the most 
extreme Calvinism in its negation of adiaphora; i.e., 
morally indifferent acts. The motives, however, from 
which these two movements are actuated have nothing 
in common. For the one it is a moral and religious 
ideal; for the other an eminently practical part of their 
system of stupefaction. 

Everything that lends color to life or enriches it 
outside of the monotonous code is banned. To look 
at a thing from a new angle, to enjoy an independent 

* A third possibility is not given. 


Masks of Love and Life 

experience is equivalent to treason. Human ties and 
relations which are not subservient to the one end are 
looked at askance. The family has to be tolerated, but 
with a constant reminder that all the feeling that it 
fosters has to be sacrificed to a higher purpose at a 
moment's notice — or else. Love cannot get much 
"living room" where hate fills every available space in 
the mind. No woman has any business to be charming, 
loving, and lovable. Her mission is twofold: Either 
as a birth-machine for the punctual procreation of 
children, that is, future warriors and haters, or as 
virago, who participates in her way in the only per- 
missible activity of spreading and organizing hatred. 

The fifth and last lesson is best expressed by 

J am in blood 

Steept in so far that, should I wade no more, 
Returning were as tedious as go on. 

This last step, which irrevocably identifies the 
whole life of the hater with his hate, only looks, at 
first sight, like the obvious consequence of so many 
frightful deeds from which no escape is possible. It 
would be expected that the friends and lovers, the 
compatriots and co-religionists of the tortured and 
killed victims would use the first opportunity for their 


School For Hate 

revenge; and that no profession of remorse and re- 
pentance, no belated condolence with their bereave- 
ments, would avail. But another, not so visible, yet 
powerful motive exists where Shakespeare's intuition 
saw it at work; and it adds to the fear of the avenger 
its more deadly sting. 

The Super-Ego is apt to make trouble when the 
moral code which has been handed down from father 
to son, through many generations, is blatantly dese- 
crated. The school of hate tries, in every possible way, 
to build up a substitute Super-Ego which is favorable 
to its ends and allows no other force to interfere with 
hate. This is done by putting the image of the wildest 
and most unscrupulous hater (the "leader") in the 
place of the old Super-Ego. The earlier in life this 
new ideal is superimposed on the older ones, the more 
assured will be the success. All the same, it is impos- 
sible to begin life with it. Nobody "sucks in hate with 
his mother's milk"; else he would starve or die of 
indigestion. Experiences of love and tenderness are 
among the first and foremost; and not all of them will 
yield to the cast-iron code of doctrine which is installed 
by force and fraud. In this way, the average pupil 
acquires a double Super-Ego. Although he may be 
deaf to the voice of the older one, when he is carried 
along by the irresistible whirl of victorious aggression, 
it does not cease to exist. A house divided against 


Masks of Love and Life 

itself cannot stand, and when the Super-Ego should 
come back to power, it never could forgive and forget 
all that had been done against its will. The revenge 
taken by the punishing conscience would be more ter- 
rible than any affliction from outside. It would mean 
a prolonged torture with suicide as the only means of 


The rule is, therefore: Do to others what you 
don't want to have done to yourself, either by the 
revenge of your victims or by your own revenging 

Those who have obeyed fully and without reserva- 
tion to this rule are the perfect graduates of the School 
of Hate. 

We have seen them at work. 

* We have not seen this to operate among the Nazis. 

— Editor. 


Chapter XIV 

The schools of hate show to the surprised observer 
how easily, on any average mind of the p. s. p., can be 
grafted the most ferocious bestiality; a peaceful citizen 
will be made over, step by step, into a brutal and 
extremely destructive monster. The transformation is, 
of course, more apparent than fundamental: certain 
urges which, under normal circumstances, remain as 
mere potentialities or kept under strict control, or, at 
most, are manifested discreetly by slight signs, are set 
free, aroused and united till they are strong enough to 
become masters where they formerly would not have 
found employment as servants. 

The liberation of emotions that have been bound, 
gagged, inhibited, and repressed, is always a festive 
and joyful occasion. The most impressive of these 
triumphant jubilations are those appalling "orgies of 
hate" which occur, after all scruples and moral obstacles 
have been thrust aside by a blood-drunken mob. When, 
however, the liberated spirit is not a blazing flame of 


Masks of Love and Life 

hell-fire, but has warmth, steadiness, and a direct pur- 
pose, the triumph is less explosive, but may result in 
something productive and valuable. The mind is lifted 
out of its ordinary rut, and casts into the corner the 
familiar, worn and dog-eared sentimental book of 
rules and precedents. Old, long forgotten impulses, 
interests, and enthusiams will then re-appear like 
long lost friends. Even an external change of sur- 
roundings may work that way. Wonderfully refreshing 
as these liberations of the mind are at first, some of 
them become irksome, after a while. The ordinary run- 
of-the-mill mortal is not willing to sustain the new 
endeavor, and the high demands which it makes on his 
psychic energies, for a long time. If he is not too far 
gone, he will, as soon as circumstances permit, return 
to his old self and slip into his accustomed protective 
shell. He feels as if he had been at a picnic-party: it 
was nice and enjoyable to eat for once in the open air, 
under trees and on the green sward, but he changes 
back from the pine-needles in the coffee and the sand 
in the butter to the amenities of an orderly household 
with a sigh of relief. 

Some go not only for a picnic, but for life-long 
excursions, or speaking unmetaphorically, their passion 
or enthusiasm or whatever it is, has a profound and 
lasting influence on their lives. These people are loath 
to come home to the former way of living; and when 



they get homesick and try to turn back, a dismal sur- 
prise is in store for them. Their adventure has worked 
a transmutation of their personalities, which cannot 
find the road back to their old ways. The new channels 
in which their interests move, the ideals and plans for 
a better world, have no place in their previous life. 
They have ceased to fit into their places and feel at 
odds with the views and opinions of their friends. They 
look with a critical eye on traditional customs and 
conventions. Soon friction arises between their con- 
cepts of right and wrong, beauty, and triviality, and 
the rules approved by their neighbors. They begin to 
protest against acts as outrageous, which to the normal 
citizen appear perfectly natural and indispensable. 
They point out the harm done by laws and institutions 
which are obeyed as beneficent or venerated as sacred. 
They are becoming reformers. 

Certainly, a disposition toward independence and 
rebellion was in them before they started on the career 
of a reformer. However, some special occasion — as 
the protest against the sale of indulgences for Luther — 
is needed to set their face toward the new goal. Some- 
thing has to happen — it might be insignificant in the 
eyes of everybody else — which reveals to them their 
mission, and with it the beginning of a new life in a 
changed world when they have passed through one of 
the open doors by which their contemporaries are 



Masks of Love and Life 

shut in. "Fiunt, non nascuntur Christiani" (Christians 
are made, not born) says the grumbler, Tertullian 
(Apologeticus: XVIII, 4) and the early Christians 
were certainly thoroughbred reformers. 

The extent of the reformer's mission is limited from 
the start (except if he is a genius who is free to move 
to any distance in any direction) by the constellation 
under which he entered his new course. The same 
power which made possible the release (the rebirth, or 
the conversion, or the awakening) prescribes also the 
limitations. It fixes the utmost boundary, as well as 
the starting-point, of the reformatory move. The ex- 
ternal events of the course which seem to be the decisive 
factors are but the material out of which the pre- 
ordained figure is contrived. Whoever has hitched his 
wagon to a star is bound to follow strictly its charted 

All the innovations which the reformer attempts 
are variations of the same theme. They develop the 
purpose that remained hidden from him while it im- 
pelled his first step; and no matter how large the 
dimensions may grow, his reform will never overstep 
this line. To this definite renouncement of any move 
beyond the initial boundary is given the name of 
"programme." It condemns anything that transgresses 
the line for the width of a split hair; considerably more 
violence is used in the defense of this boundary than 



the dyed-in-the-wool conservatives show who are in 
favor of an unremitting standstill. The reformer will 
eventually be satisfied with less than he bargained for, 
but never with more. (Luther's intolerance of the 
Schwarmgeister," that is, against all of his brother- 
reformers who didn't stop exactly on the dot that he 
had indicated is a good example.) 

The task of replacing outmoded laws, customs, and 
concepts by more modern ones is not only carried on by 
those who are prompted by their spiritual needs; it is 
attacked from a different side by another group. The 
members of this fraternity are not called reformers, 
but have, in some respects, a better right to this title, 
although they can boast neither of the purity of their 
intentions, nor of a programme, nor of a humanitarian 
purpose. Their self-expression lies in direct action; 
they are the criminals. 

When the term "criminal" is used in the juridical 
sense, it does not serve for the differentiation of a 
special psychological type from the rest of the P. s. P. 
The accidents of the statute book and of formal logic 
draw artificial lines of distinction so that acts which 
spring from dissimilar motives and are due to impulses 
of a perfectly heterogenous nature fall within the 
same definition of a certain kind of crime. The law 
has hitherto been exclusively interested in the immediate 
motives of criminal acts, not in the far and forgotten 


Masks of Love and Life 

past by which the peculiar asocial attitude of the 
criminal has been determined. 

The sociological point of view is more to the 
purpose, but it has a regrettable tendency to beg the 
question. It takes for granted that, by definition, the 
crime is an attempt against social organization. Led 
on by this prejudicial statement, it emphasizes its de- 
structive and negative aspects, and pays little attention 
to its positive functions as a factor of reform and 
progress. "Aussi est il inutile d } observer les moeurs 
puisque on pent les deduire des lois psychologiques." 
(It is unnecessary to study the social factors, since they 
can be deduced from the psychological laws.) says 
Marcel Proust {A I* Ombre des Jeunes Filles en Fleurs, 
Vol. I, P. 119). We may trust to the words of this 
oracle. To bridge the great distance between the im- 
partial observer and his object, no other scientific 
instrument is needed than the telescope furnished by 
psychology. With its help, the picture resolves itself 
into one of the familiar problems of interplay between 
the primitive drives and their lackadaisical management 
by the Ego and Super-Ego. The latter, in this particular 
case, stresses unsuccessfully the demands of civilization, 
the self -protection of society, and warns of the pressure 
brought to bear by the collective on the lone 

The criminal, like the hero, the artist, and the re- 



former, has loosened his ties with society through 
"individual action," and, like them, he has not, by so 
doing, severed them entirely. He retains his member- 
ship, and with it his Super-Ego, although the latter 
gets partly refurbished, partly dilapidated. There is an 
active influence on both sides: society trying to reform 
the criminal, the criminal occasionally reforming so- 
ciety, without asking or getting credit for it. Crime 
forms a part of every successive stage of civilization, 
and, therefore, deserves to be studied as one of its 
characteristic expressions. It is an incongruous and 
contradictory, but none the less essential, element of 
society, like the devils and gargoyles hovering on the 
roof of every Gothic cathedral. 

Nobody lives "outside of society," just as nothing 
exists which is "unnatural," but an organism may 
develop unusual qualities, and an individual can bring 
to the civilization of his time a new and uncharted 
position. These variants will emerge every time when 
a person refuses to accept the inhibitions, imposed by 
the rules of his society, and throws their yoke off his 
shoulders. When the restraining bonds within him 
have been loosened and lightened, or, eventually, if 
they had no hold on him from the start) his hands are 
free to reach out for the things which he wants, and on 
which those who stay within the fold look with 
hungry eyes. 


Masks of Love and Life 

He does it usually in a clumsy and uncouth manner, 
but when he possesses a grain of originality, courage, 
and character, his deeds invite some others to imitate 
him ; they attract finally the attention of the crowd and 
stimulate its fantasy. The story of the clever thief must 
have been popular a long time before Herodotus told 
the tale of Rhampsenit. Our modern detective stories 
are but morally patched up glorifications of the same 
envious wish-fantasy; they legitimatize the reader's 
fascination by crime, overlaying it with the interest in 
the solution of the problem and the punishment of the 
villain. Each incident of law-breaking and success- 
ful transgression opens the chance of a new and tempt- 
ing way of opposing or evading the impositions of 
•existing society, and thus sows the seeds of change and 
reform. At certain times, these seeds fall on prepared 
soil and produce a remarkable crop. Then the com- 
mission of some special type of crime will not only 
become frequent and habitual, it will, after a while, 
form a part of the "mores" of the socially approved 
behavior, while it still stands as punishable in the 
penal code. Such a double-faced attitude has been 
taken flagrantly and universally at the time of prohibi- 
tion, but it exists, although not quite so celebrated an 
instance, and more by way of voluntary blindness, in 
regard to "criminal" birth-control, prostitution, homo- 
sexuality, or occasional smuggling. Certain privileged 



methods of illegitimate gains are a semi-official element 
in several lines of respectable business. 

The criminal is not a reformer in the sense that he 
creates new ideologies or draws blueprints for a future 
better world. He is the pioneer of civilization who 
leaves the trim fields of legality and order behind him 
and goes out into the wilderness to do his spade work 
by himself. When in the natural sequence of events 
he is followed by the road-builder and the surveyor, 
when the legitimate settler builds a home where he had 
been hunting for easy game, these valuable assets, won 
against old restrictions and inhibitions, are the result 
of his efforts, but not of his intention. 

He is a reformer malgre lui,* by setting an example, 
which, lawless as it is, may produce good when it is 
followed by others. In this way, the usurer who dis- 
regarded the laws which prohibited the asking of 
interest ("mutuum date, nihil inde sperantes")** be- 
came the advance guard of capitalism. Almost all 
enterprises of colonizations started with forays of 
plundering adventurers. The abolition of slavery was 
preceded by the "underground railway," which was 
strictly against the then existing law. 

Crime is a new beginning, but not in the sense that 
it starts again at the phase before the first foundations 

* In spite of himself. 
** Grant a loan, without hoping to gain anything from it. 



Masks of Love and Life 

of social life were laid. The criminal disregards the 
rules which stand between his wishes and their satisfac- 
tion, but he does not deny their validity. On the con- 
trary, being a practical philosopher and no theoretician 
he approves and endorses them, as far as the others 
are concerned. He is a staunch upholder of all the 
laws which do not jeopardize him or interfere with his 
own activities. Against his wish, he instigates a reform 
movement when his unorthodox behavior provokes 
society to shake off its static stupor and to do some- 
thing about it. Whatever this reaction may be, it is 
bound to make it likewise swerve from the beaten 
track. The new move may consist at first in nothing 
more than in devising more laws and stricter punish- 
ments for the obnoxious crime, but punishment is a 
double-edged sword since it always tends to repeat 
from the other side the act which it is designed to 
suppress. The undoing what has been done by a sort 
of homoeopathy leads to the universally popular lex 
talionis — an eye for an eye — or a crime for a crime. 
A corsair, corsair et demi. In the higher reaches of 
criminology, this primitive rule becomes unrecognized, 
but never wholly lost. The tenacity with which capital 
punishment is retained as the only adequate retribution 
for the taking of a life illustrates this very well. 

In times of transition and social uncertainty, the 
close relationship between crime and reform becomes 



manifest. Anti-social acts point to the vulnerable spots 
in the existing order and arouse the conscience of those 
who feel responsible for the suppression of abuses. In 
this indirect, but efficient, way crime causes the abro- 
gation of obsolete laws, draws general attention to the 
evils bred by oppression and reckless exploitation. It 
exposes the social lies and the conventional fictions in 
a more convincing manner than the theoretical re- 
former could do with all his eloquence. When an old 
system is worn thin, crime is the first to demonstrate 
that its authority is a pretense, and that the strength 
has gone out of it. 

The close relation of crime and reform becomes 
an identity when the transition from the old form to 
the new realities comes to pass suddenly, that is, during 
a revolution. At such times, people have got to live 
fast and yet are unable to catch up with the breath- 
taking speed of the events like Alice running with the 
Red King. Bloodshed and violence are commonly 
used as means to keep the pace from slackening. 
Changes which otherwise would take years, or even 
several generations, are brought about within a few 
weeks. What yesterday was proclaimed as the final 
goal is today left far behind, a mere milestone on the 

The first leaders in a revolutionary movement — 
and who are they but reformers ? — are bound to over- 


Masks of Love and Life 

step the limits of loyalty to the existing laws. Other- 
wise they would be left behind at the start. In such 
days, a head-on collision with sacred rules and hal- 
lowed conventions becomes inevitable. The men who 
attempt to break down the resistance of the old order 
and their followers appear, under these circumstances, 
either as liberators and great political reformers or as 
criminals and malefactors, according to the partisanship 
and point of view of their contemporaries. In the 
later stages, when the first reformer is supplanted by 
more and more radical leaders, the distinction between 
them and ordinary criminals becomes almost negligible. 

On the other hand, the social value of the criminal 
is enhanced in turbulent days. His acts are still invari- 
ably dictated by purely personal motives without regard 
to general or altruistic tendencies. But they expand 
and grow, being nourished on the soil of wide appro- 
bation and are merged with the most violent currents 
of a violent time, so that the egoistic law-breaker, for 
a short time, becomes indistinguishable from the genu- 
ine revolutionary reformer. 

This is more than a mere accidental and superficial 
resemblance. The way in which the criminal does his 
job, how he gets what he wants and meets emergencies, 
is a valuable lesson for those who have found their 
ordinary peaceful methods unavailing. He sets an 
example for those who don't know how to act in, and 



for, the new order. Toward the end of the Russian 
revolution of 1905, Lenin with a logical sharpness 
which provoked many protests approved of the gangs 
of hooligans and robbers because they were useful "to 
keep the revolutionary spirit alive." 

Besides the groups which include criminals who 
become reformers in spite of themselves, and of re- 
formers becoming criminals contrary to their intentions, 
another type of character exists, who is perfectly willing 
to commit crimes when occasion serves. This type — 
luckily a rare one — is set apart by his peculiarly 
unattractive motives. He is actuated by the sheer love 
for malevolence and practices evil-doing with the same 
disinterested devotion and self-dedication as a saint 
his virtue. Those who, misled by a certain trend in 
literature, expect these lovers of wickedness, for art's 
sake, to appear with the sulphuric halo of diabolic 
grandeur, will be sorely disappointed. These "genies 
du mal" are people of narrow minds, using petty 
means toward repulsive, but insignificant, ends — 
mendacity, malicious gossip, perfidy, low intrigues. 
When they dabble in crime it will be petty larceny, 
confidence tricks, card-sharping and — dearest to their 
hearts — blackmailing. 

Their maliciousness is the natural product of an 
empty and impotent Ego that has not attained the 
faculty of creating any feeling of inner warmth. Af- 


Masks of Love and Life 

fection is thrown away on them. It falls to the ground; 
for they are unable to hold and cherish it. The emptier 
their Ego is, the more it tries to assert itself with a 
faked feeling of superiority and self-assurance which, 
in default of any sound foundation, relies on this: "I 
can hurt others, therefore I am someone." Noceo 
ergo sum.* 

When after a long period of lying and meanness, 
they eventually succeed in building up a following of 
dupes (toward whom they feel no more charitable and 
have no more human regard than toward the rest of 
mankind) their blind homage will puff them up like 
a toy-balloon. In this inflated state, they will stop at 
nothing. A small-time sharper made power-drunk by 
the devotion of an infatuated mass will become the 
most ruthless of tyrants. Yet, while his aims expand 
and stop at nothing short of the enslavement of the 
world, he will still remain the petty swindler. 

The genuine criminals with all their cruelty and 
mean egotism are characters of a quite different order. 
Even the worst of them is distantly related to the tragic 
hero whose guilt consists solely in daring to struggle 
against the jealousy of the gods. 

* This is, of course, a parody on Descartes' s celebrated dictum 
"Cogito ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am) which ushered in the 
modern era in philosophy, and became the basis of all subsequent 


— Editor. 


Chapter XV 


Where pretensions don't displease? 

In children, they have the world in lease. 

(Wo Anmassung mir wohlgefallt? 
"An Kindern, denen gehort die Welt.) 

— Goethe: Spriiche in Reimen. 

Certainly, the world is theirs. Each of them begins 
life as a natural, true-born reformer. They open their 
eyes on a world of their own; with all parts and organs 
of their bodies they receive, and with the first working 
of their mind they assimilate, their own unprecedented, 
unique, personal sensations. Nothing has ever existed 
before exactly like this individual apparatus for the 
choice between giving entrance or rejecting new im- 
pressions which try to rush in through the open doors 
of the senses. So is the reaction to every sensation, the 
retaining traces and registering of the traces left by 
their impact. Theirs is a new world, built up from 
new sounds and colors, desires and surfeits. 


Masks of Love and Life 

How does it happen that this constant series of 
fresh beginnings does so little for the rejuvenation of 
the p. s. p., and suffers them to trudge on in their old 
weary, well-trodden tracks? Of the original outlook, 
the new beginning brought into the world by untold 
myriads of children, but few traces remain. Little that's 
new — setting aside the idea of "progress" — is added 
to the stock of human possibilities. Technical discov- 
eries have been plentiful, but the acquisition of a new 
order of emotional experiences, the enlarging of the 
borders of the mind are left to blind fate and fickle 
fortune. All this seems to lie somewhere beyond the 
borderline of human endeavor. 

Part of this may be attributed to the biological 
inheritance which the child brings with it into the 
world. It seems to contain certain constantly recurrent 
dispositions which preclude wandering too far afield 
from the fixed pattern. Yet, the same element may 
enter into different combinations and out of the same 
inheritance are produced manifold character-types, fine 
and coarse, strong and weak, creative and destructive. 
The kaleidoscope of hereditary traits ought to show 
an infinite number of original and surprising arrange- 
ments; actually they are so few and far between. 

The earliest impressions on the child's senses are 
unlike anything that happens later and not comparable 
with any other human experience. Light and darkness, 


New Beginning 

smell and sound, pleasure and pain, and other simple 
sensations are the blocks with which it builds its world, 
all by itself and for itself, ignoring that other worlds 
exist. At this period, every child is absolutely original 
— a perfect creative genius, although within the nar- 
rowest boundaries. 

It is a difficult enterprise to penetrate into one of 
these private worlds of infancy without a full regres- 
sion to its level, which would defeat the ends of the 
observer. Everything there is so different that it would 
look to an adult like life on the strangest of strange 
planets. The best knowledge that can be obtained 
about it is not better than scientific abstractions and 
logical generalizations, founded on some of those 
traits which all infantile worlds have in common. We 
are bound to assume that at the beginning of individual 
existence, the distinction between internal and external, 
subjective and objective is missing. The experiences by 
which this borderline is drawn become the nucleus for 
the formation of the Ego. All its future development 
is rooted in the conviction that I and not-I, myself and 
the universe are two entirely different propositions. 
Many attempts are made to shake or nullify this con- 
viction or to drown it in orgiastic ecstasies, but their 
success is imperfect or fugitive. The intensity of these 
frontier-building perceptions and sensations is probably 
higher than of anything experienced in later years. 


Masks of Love and Life 

Over the virgin soil of the mind, the flood of the 
rising evolution breaks in and covers it by succeeding 
waves. The inundation starts from two different direc- 
tions: inside changes, caused by the growing, by the 
development of the organs, by endocrine processes and 
what-not; and on the other hand, the pressure and 
attraction of the world outside, the discovery that of so 
many desirable things only a small part is attainable, 
due to the harsh denial by immovable facts and to the 
enforced obedience to the rules of correct social adap- 
tation. The mouthpiece of the demands of civilization 
is first the nursery, then the family, and later the 
school; finally the various educational influences of 
life, by friends and foes, sweethearts and rivals ; chance 
encounters play a not inconsiderable role. The inetrnal 
and the external factors, nature and society, ought to 
supplement each other in a perfect cooperation. As a 
matter of fact, this cooperation is accidental, haphazard, 
and unreliable in the extreme; and it happens quite 
often that they clash and fight; the result of their 
interaction is the intricate and frequently enigmatic 
course which the development from childhood to ma- 
turity runs. To know exactly and in detail these 
internal and external powers is the main business of 
psychoanalytic investigation. When the "what" is 
answered, the question of the "how" remains: how 
does the process of prying open and finally demolish- 


New Beginning 

ing the primeval mind of the child start, and how 
does it move on? How and when does the child's 
world lose its exclusiveness and originality? 

The most powerful instrument for this purpose is 
speech. When ideas form in the mind, taking shape 
into words, its whole set-up undergoes a transforma- 
tion; it ceases definitely to be "a closed system." 
Communication by speech furthers the recognition of 
independent non-Egos and puts them on a footing of 
equality, progressing from a comparison with them to 
an eventual partial or total identification. Primitive 
sensations are converted into verbal concepts, which 
can be arranged and manipulated, called up and dis- 
missed by an act of the will. Immediate sensations are 
replaced by their sign-posts and signals. Logic prunes 
down the too luxuriant vegetation of wishful thinking 
(or, as Bleuler called it, autistic thinking) with its 
sharp and precise shears till they look like the straight- 
lined hedges in a Rococo park. In short, the primitive, 
direct, and purely individual sensations become over- 
laid by ideas and abstractions which are kept and 
conveyed by words. The strictly private world becomes 
indistinct, and in its place is put a social reality in 
common with everybody else as a practical basis for a 
general exchange. Trade in ideas is made easy insofar 
as their content can be reduced to the legal tender of 
words. Yet, this sort of conformity never becomes 


Masks of Love and Life 

absolute. The traces left by the early impressions sur- 
vive as overtones or undercurrents, faint but indelible. 
The red or the white roses which the child saw from his 
bedroom window makes a difference for life. The 
intruding words, which replace and destroy their 
original impact, become themselves the medium by 
which they are in some part preserved and saved from 
total eclipse. The avant-garde formed by the first 
words which the child learns becomes assimilated to 
the primitive mentality, like an explorer who acquires 
some of the habits of the savages. The child treats 
these words just in the same way as the rest of his 
experiences, and something of that quality sticks to 
them and their successors in spite of their servitude to 
reason and reality, abstraction and generalization. 
Where this quality has become extinct it can be revived 
by a certain technique of which the poets possess the 

A part of the mind refuses to yield to the en- 
croachment of civilization and remains untouched by 
evolutionary processes and social adaptations. It pays 
for this gain by losing its entree to consciousness, and 
by being cut off from all direct communications with 
the outside world. A time comes in every man's life 
when the bridges to this world are cut off, and the 
interest in it withdrawn so that the portion of his 
personality which is kept incommunicado can re-assert 

[ 280] 

New Beginning 

itself. The sleeper becomes a dreamer; he celebrates a 
joyous and sometimes anxious return to this childhood, 
to his own independent ways of feeling and wishing, 
of handling words and things in the old, sovereign 
manner. His creative power throws off the fetters of 
reality by which it was held and restrained. It forces 
the words to contrive in a few seconds more fantastic 
shapes and events, more "fairy toys" than his waking 
imagination could ever bring forth. 

In this way, the P. s. P., all and sundry, lead a 
double life; they are simultaneously citizens in two 
worlds. In daylight, trying to become progressive and 
adaptable to reality, at night erratic and entirely self- 
sufficing. One half is a straight-laced and correct 
philistine; the other an incorrigible bohemian. 

Now and then, but not often, nor for any length 
of time, the two disparate halves become concordant 
like hostile brothers walking lovingly, arm in arm. 
This is a most auspicious event, and all whose minds 
are strong enough to bear the gift of creativeness wait 
for it as the parched earth in times of drought waits 
for the rain that will bring back fertility. It is com- 
monly called inspiration, and by this or any other 
name it is the life-giving centre for the liberation of 
the spirit, be it artistic, philosophical, or scientific, be 
it great and monumental, or consisting of nothing more 
than slight vibrations passing through the mind. The 



Masks of Love and Life 

finest, hair-splitting logic and the most accurate ex- 
perimentation remain sterile without the rush of primi- 
tive energies which, in their eagerness, care not a whit 
about precedent and rationality. This "new beginning" 
starts from a point where psychic acts have not yet 
been regulated and conventionalized by language and 
other straight-jacket devices; the road leading back to 
it has been kept open, and the power of the Unconscious 
does the rest. 

Regarding the release of words from the barren 
servitude of reality, the poets are the true heirs of 
childhood's "new beginning." That they delude other- 
wise serious people by making words play bo-peep 
and tag with each other — a game that is ordinarily 
called versification, is but one of their minor tricks. 
They re-invest them generally with their lost values 
in sound, in rhythm and rhyme, in modulation, in 
softness or hardness, in high sonority or melancholy 
cadences. By their skill they release all sorts of sur- 
prising faculties, as if striking sparks from a stone; in 
short, they transmute the dry timber into an apple- 
tree in full bloom. 

Nor did the other master-builders and architects of 
the mind lag behind. They played with the cyclopic 
resistance of matter and with the stubborn law of 
gravitation till they wheedled out of them order and 
liberty, grace and beauty. Each of the arts went its own 

[ 282 ] 

New Beginning 

way to substitute for the commonplace reality some 
fragment of the lost world of the "new beginning." 
The queen to whom the others bow in gratitude, know- 
ing how much they all owe to her, is Music. Her 
building material is harmonious in itself, free from 
earthiness and heaviness. Music does not need to be 
refined and distilled, nor is it harnessed to the single- 
mindedness of facts; its free-born loveliness is not 
embarrassed by the burden of reason and logic of which 
poetry, held down by the use of words, cannot free 
itself altogether.* "Es bleibt an Erden zu tragen 
peinlkhr (A speck of earthy dust remains, painful to 
carry.) Goethe: Faust, Part II. Music comes nearest 
to the immaculate conception of beauty, being like 
Ariel, "but air" and rises to every height accessible to 
human emotion. 

Every child is a born king, but the royal robes and 
insignia are soon taken away, and in their place a 
hand-me-down suit, with a few individual fittings, are 
put on him. A few exceptional beings retain through 
life something of their royal splendor. Everything con- 
sidered, it is all for the best. The private worlds have 
no exits and lead nowhere; if they were not broken 
down, they would become a cage for the growing 
mind. The world that the p. s. p. have in common has 

* The author forgets about the rules and canons of composition 
even in modernistic music, of which musical vigilantes were ever 



Masks of Love and Life 

at least the advantage of opening a wide perspective 
in the future. It might be a trick worked out with 
mirrors, but it stands before our eyes and gives us hope. 
Since the conflict between the perspective of pro- 
gression and the allurements of regression is never 
quite silenced, the result is that we want to push ahead 
for all we are worth, so as to reach, as soon as possible, 
the point we look back on and wish to be children 


Chapter XVI 

Like most people, when they have to perform, half- 
heartedly, a tedious and not very urgent task, I used to 
expostulate about it with myself. On such occasions 
my customary reflection is: "Why work for the fellow 
who will stand in your shoes tomorrow? Let him do 
his own chores! The only 'thank-you' you get from 
him will be a condescending smile. The chances are 
that he will consider himself immensely superior and 
take this as a proof that you are a simpleton who had 
nothing better to do." 

A similar aversion, as to my future Ego, I feel 
regarding my immediate past. This unfriendly and 
critical attitude goes so far that I have a strong, some- 
times insurmountable, resistance against reading what 
I had written a day or two before. This disappears 
after a longer interval, when the lapse of time has 
relieved the tension between the two successive em- 
bodiments of myself. Years later, when the persons I 
had been have become so remote that they appear as a 


Masks of Love and Life 

unified entity to my present Ego, accidental meetings 
with the relics of a former self may give me a pleasant 
thrill, especially if they bring with them a faint trace 
of sentimental reminiscence. But the intimacy of close 
contiguity between the past and present Ego breeds, if 
not contempt, at least coldness and estrangement. 

These little habits are not cited for the reader's 
delight in my interesting personal whimsies. I believe 
that they express something universal and common to 
all of the p. s. P. The forms under which they manifest 
themselves range from the pathetic to the moronic, 
from the painful to the comical, but their common 
cause is the insecurity of the Ego-structure and its 
unwillingness to be faced with the proofs of the make- 
shift, day-by-day changes of its make-up. 

Wedged in between its immediate past and im- 
mediate future, and out of sympathy with both of 
them, our Ego does not find sufficient elbow room to 
assert itself freely and unconcernedly. The marks left 
by constraint and inhibition, by friction and resistance 
are ineradicable. Their typical consequence is the 
boredom which usually sets in when the mind is not 
preoccupied with care and worries, nor torn by desire 
or anxiety. It turns the longed-for restfulness and 
peace into dust and ashes. Instead, a beatific equanimity 
("ataraxia" the Stoics called it) , the piteous close past, 
and the monotonous immediate future dominate the 


The Path to the Tree of Life 

scene. Life appears so wearisome at such periods that 
anything arousing and surprising, even a mere affecta- 
tion, an artificial interest, becomes attractive. Children 
soon receive the visits of this grey spectre. "Mother, 
I don't know what to play!" is the first signal; later on 
the formula varies. "I haven't got a single dress I 
could wear." "Let's have a few drinks," are typical 
outcries from a constricted Ego. 

The easiest means of escape is by way of fantasy. 
In place of the dreary past and future which surround 
the present, and overshadow it, are placed glamorous 
images on a remote horizon. Fantasy has the great 
advantage that it works backwards as well as forward. 
Reminiscences of the "happy childhood," castles built 
in the air to be inhabited in a vaguely defined future, 
mitigate and eventually remove the taedium vitae. But 
woe to the miserables whose fantasy is inhabited by 
internal conflicts! They become the helpless martyrs — 
and eventually the prophets and propagandists — of 

An effective remedy, but one that is not to be had 
on order, is the birth of a passion which sweeps bore- 
dom out of the way as a conflagration consumes dry 
leaves before it; past, present and future are illuminated 
by its flames. When passion is burnt out, its smoulder- 
ing cinders will often be a great help to keep boredom 
out. Blessed are those who bestride a hobby-horse 

[287] . 

Masks of Love and Life 

never to dismount from it. He who is unable to 
attach his emotions to a permanent object has to 
err through life, oscillating between dreariness and 
bursts of enthusiasm. 

Hobbies, passions, day-dreams, reminiscences are 
all serviceable for the same purpose — to divert 
attention from the present self. Introspection of the 
mind, not of the one which existed long ago, nor of 
the blueprint of one that has been planned for future 
use, but of the insecure and timid fluttering one of the 
present, is an unpleasant task and not willingly chosen 
by the p. s. p. Most of us are like Wilhelm Busch's 
travelling Englishman who goes around holding 
steadily a telescope to his eye. 

"While I walk," he said, "just why 
Shouldn't I in the distance spy? 
Nature elsewhere too is great 
And here I am at any rate." 

The sensations of which the P. s. P. are aware at a 
given moment, and which they call their present life, 
are in fact, but disparate fractions, an imperfectly 
understood code of the signals emanating from the 
invisible source of their real life that flows, in an 
unbroken stream, from birth to death. 

Of this, the true and veritable life, which is, at the 


The Path to the Tree of Life 

same time, inextricably interwoven of body and mind, 
the Ego gets not more than passing glimpses as if 
glancing into the boss's sanctum through an occa- 
sionally opened door. The rest consists in distorted 
reflections from the mirrors of memory and fantasy. 

Consequently the business of living, as manifested 
in the diverse affairs, concerns, perceptions, passions, 
desires, frustrations, and dreams of life, has not the 
character of a continuous transaction in which we so 
much would like to believe, but gets performed fit- 
fully, and at odd times, in single spurts. The torch of 
life is handed over from each runner to the next one, 
but beyond that they care little for each other. The 
narrow present, cut off from the neighboring past, and 
uncertain of the near future, finds insufficient space in 
which to get squarely settled. 

The unrest is heightened by a mask staring at 
everything human with the same inscrutable lack of 
expression — "deadpan" is its correct designation. 
Man's hairy ancestors had always taken their own 
existence for granted without limitations. The possi- 
bility of a world without them, a world in which they 
have no part, never appeared before their minds' eyes; 
their ignorance is bliss; since they need not worry 
about the inconceivable. But in humans, the notion of 
everlasting destruction of the individual has been thrust 
in such an energetic manner that they could not over- 


Masks of Love and Life 

look it. Their eye-openers were partly their observations 
from which their intelligence drew, willy-nilly, con- 
clusions by way of analogy; partly their own destructive 
drives, which were directed against their fellow-men, 
and eventually, by way of their guilt feeling, the prin- 
cipal source of morality, were in repercussion brought 
home where they started. 

All this made man aware that there was a future 
which held no future for him. That he had seen his 
friends die, and at times had wished it, convinced him 
that he, too, might get killed — by his foes, including 
his close friends, and, ultimately, by an inexorable, 
impersonal fate. The constantly present notion of the 
reality of death and of the inescapable voice of his 
conscience ("to you will be done what you want to do 
to others") made it hard for him to consider himself 
as the sole exception to this universal destiny. Yet, in 
spite of these voices, he remained incapable of con- 
ceiving whole-heartedly an all-embracing universe in 
which he was missing, i.e., to imagine a survival without 
himself as survivor. 

In order to avoid this glaring contradiction and to 
retain the belief in his interminable existence, he en- 
dowed all his fellow-men with immortality, good and 
bad alike, so that he could acquire a title to immortality 
without seeming to claim an unlikely privilege for 
himself alone. In face of all beliefs and re-assurances, 


The Path to the Tree of Life 

the ambiguity remained; and none of these auxiliary 
constructions ever found enough trust to overcome 
entirely the fear of extinction. This makes man still 
more unwilling to look closely at his Ego and to 
realize that it is not, and never was, a fixture, but is 
changeable and unstable from its beginning to the end. 
"I am alive." Expressed in humble words, that 
means "I am an organism, and as such I am permanently 
in direct touch with life." But this "I" is impossible 
without including a body; and the body is not on 
speaking terms with the rest of the Ego. It gives to 
consciousness only some rudimentary data, like pleasure 
and pain, desire and anxiety, but in regard to all more 
explicit revelations, it is silent, or else it speaks the 
language of the Unconscious, which the Ego, unhappily, 
cannot understand. The direct contact with life, which 
is denied to the Ego by the subsoil from which it draws 
all its strength, cannot be supplied from outside. The 
present, immured between past and future, can become 
aware of its own life only in snatches. More often 
than not, it is like "the hand that digs for treasures and 
is glad when it finds earthworms." Fantasy and mem- 
ory try their best to supplant the present, but theirs is 
a circuitous route which brings those who trust it too 
much out of touch with life, instead of giving them its 
essence. The question which stands before us is one 
which our forefathers for many, many centuries formu- 


Masks of Love and Life 

lated in the language of their mythology: "Where lies 
the path leading to the tree of life?" (Derekh eytz 

Ecstasy, the concentration of life, seems the best 
approach. The hope survived that life, reaching its 
orgiastic peak, would use this highest moment, before 
it plunges itself into the abyss of nonentity, for the 
attainment of perfect self-awareness. But, alas, such 
is not the case. The higher the flame of passion mounts, 
the more dimmed becomes the light of consciousness. 
At the moment when life throws away all its veils, and 
exposes itself in undisguised nakedness, the mind's 
eyes are stricken with blindness. No mortal eye will 
ever see Isis, the great mother, in the splendor of her 
nudity. When the eyes are opened again, the ecstasy 
has ended in self-extinction; and instead of the blinding 
light of life, they perceive the sombre shadow-play of 

There is another indirect approach which has noth- 
ing in common with the wild onrush by which ecstasy 
breaks down all obstacles and blots out the distance 
between the higher levels of the mind and the lower 
ones, between sublimity and sensuality; but in its quiet 
and unobtrusive way it is one of the few effective 
consolations for the ills of the flesh and the spirit. We 

* The author here uses the Hebrew, because of the Biblical 


— Editor. 

The Path to the Tree of Life 

have for that the guarantee and the express testimonials 
of two truly great man, each as unlike to the other as 
possible: Goethe and Proust. "In the colors of its 
reflected radiance, we hold life." {"Am farbigen 
Abglanz haben wir das Leben," (Faust, Second Part) . 
Proust is more explicit in A la Recherche du Temps 
perdu"— which I would translate, "On the search for 
the repressed"— (Vol. II, P. 16). "At the same time, 
in the present and in the past, real without being 
tangible, ideal without being abstract, the permanent 
and habitually hidden essence of things finds itself 
liberated, and our true self that sometimes for long 
stretches of our life seemed dead, but was not, wakes 
up and is animated by receiving the heavenly nour- 
ishment. ..." * 

This happens when, be it by accident or by the grace 
of one of the higher powers, the strife and antipathy 
between the present and its neighbors, the past and the 
future, is stilled. The present moment, now undaunted 
by the antipathy against the past and the anxiety in- 
stilled by the future, expands freely and securely. Its 
expansion is infinite — not into eternity, but into time- 
lessness. Life and the Ego, which ordinarily rush past 

* "A la jois, dans le present et dans le passe, reels sans etre 
actueh, ideaux sans etre abstraits, aussilot I'essence permanente et 
habituellement cachee des cboses se trouve liberie et notre vrai mot 
qui par jois depuis longtemps semblait mort, mais ne I'etait pas autre- 
ment, s'eveille, s'anime en recevant la celeste nourriture ..." 


Masks of Love and Life 

each other in opposite directions, meet and stop and 
stand still, eye to eye. They are both at rest, not as at a 
movie when the projecting apparatus gets jammed, but 
as if the great Sabbath of eternal peace had already 

Every great gift of the gods is fraught with dangers, 
and this is no exception. Life at a standstill means the 
same thing as life beyond its orgiastic climax: death. 
Life, when it approaches its fulfillment, brings with it, 
as its finest aroma, the foretaste of death. That is the 
meaning of "The irony of fate." 

There exists another, not quite so exceptional, 
situation in which life's conflicts are not extinguished, 
but at least their glare is dimmed to an agreeable 
twilight. This gentle benefactor, who deserves the 
name of a blessing in disguise, is Old Age. This sounds 
paradoxical since old age, not without reason, is de- 
cried as cold and dry, monotonous and ill-humored, 
far removed from the fresh springs of life. But there 
are exceptions: those who are able to enjoy something 
else than the pleasures of mating, eating, drinking, 
etc., and the elation bestowed by the harmonious func- 
tions of their muscles and their organs can see the days 
of their youth glide away without too much regret. To 
be young includes certain obligations; and they feel 
relieved when these are lifted and they are no longer 
in duty bound to be energetic, aspiring, amorous or 


The Path to the Tree of Life 

heroic. They don't become annoyed and cross-grained 
when they are growing old, and their minds welcome 
the new and last stage of their existence. 

The foreknowledge of an impending departure, if 
it means a removal for a long time or, still better, for- 
ever, gives to old surroundings a new freshness, a 
revival of interest. What, for a long while past, had 
been stale and ordinary becomes meaningful, attractive, 
endowed with a new beauty, when the time draws near 
to say farewell to it. Looking at things for the last 
time puts them in a perspective which reveals a new 
outline, imbues them with a charm that they did not 

possess before. 

This is one of the benefits old age bestows on 
sensitive souls; its value is enhanced by a curious, 
contradictory circumstance, viz., together with the 
awareness of the impending departure comes the feel- 
ing that the stretch of time lying ahead is extending 
instead of shortening. The epoch of the final leave- 
taking, engrossed by the loveliness of life which, at all 
other times, is hidden behind harsh actualities, is free 
from rush and hurry. Time is an altogether subjective 
experience, independent of clock and calendar. Me- 
chanical devices are meaningless when the inner time- 
sense contradicts them. 

This sense registers, in earlier years, the impetuosity 
of youth which dashes forth in haste and, therefore, 


Masks of Love and Life 

feels time scurrying past it at high speed. While the 
mind is troubled by passionate wishes, entrancing 
prospects and illusions, it feels convinced that their 
realization is quite near, almost within grasp. Since 
the mind's vision is mostly unable to reach beyond its 
wishes, the time perspective, although frequently 
changing, always stays, under these conditions, at short 
range. Pressing, and often contradictory, aims crowd the 
near future and blot out everything lying beyond them. 
Another advantage: The sharp sting of conscience 
and self-criticism loses much of its power for tor- 
menting. Knowing that it is now too late to mend, the 
wisdom of old age can afford to become indulgent 
without being complacent in regard to its frailties and 
failures. The Ego accepts finally its limitations. To 
this indulgence toward oneself is added the forgiving 
spirit toward all former enemies: that they have either 
died or grown old is a sufficient revenge. 

Moreover, old age has learned that hurrying too 
eagerly after a fulfillment is apt to rob it of the 
illusions by which it was surrounded and lent it 
glamour. Self-control, generally, is made easier by the 
diminution of pressure on the part of the instinctual 
urges. The cruel idols, such as lust and domination, 
which devoured the good life and insatiably insisted 
on sacrifices at their altar, become less formidable. 
From giants they shrink to toy figures. 


The Path to the Tree of Life 

The best part of any party is its end. The hustling 
and bustling is over. No more empty flirtations, no 
hollow compliments, no shrill laughter. The lights are 
lowered to a pleasant dimness. In our easy-chair we 
ruminate how it all happened — what people said to 
us, and about us, and what we thought of them. Even 
the painful reminiscences lose their bitterness now 
when they are used as a means for one end and aim: 
to get a look at our life — not backwards, nor forward, 
but as an indivisible entity. 

It is shown to us in the light of growing self- 
detachment as through a thinning mist, not only as 
what it was, or ought to have been, or might have 
been, but also as what it was bound to be because we 
were just this sort of a human creature. We admit that 
it failed to be the fairy tale, heroic epic, or grand 
tragedy which we planned at different epochs, but we 
find it a truer expression of our personality than we 
ever thought. We enjoy our discovery with leisure, 
and, leaning back, we wait for the call to bed, hoping 
that it will be given by a soft and friendly voice. Thus 
the forerunner of death brings the message of life. 



Prepared by A. A. Robaoc 

Note: The following terms represent only such as are found 
in Dr. Sachs's book and are not fully explained in the 
text. In describing this as a simplified glossary, I am 
cautioning the reader that the definitions, which in most 
psychiatric and psychoanalytic books are rigid, are here 
treated with some latitude; for I find that generally the 
highly technical definitions are too abstract to be of any 
use except to those who are already familiar with the 
terms. They offer an excellent frame of reference disal- 
lowing any swerving from the prescribed course, but it 
leaves the poor reader of even more than average intelli- 
gence in doubt as to what the particular verbal construction 
means. If at first, it was only a single word which was 
obscure to him, then after the definition, the obscurity is 
diffused over a whole clause or series of clauses. As one 
illustration of a great many, we may take the following 
definition out of a purportedly popular account of psycho- 
analysis, designed for the general public: "Projection: 
perception of an endopsychic phenomenon as external and 
alien to the Ego." Correct as the definition is, it may be 
asked whether it is of much service except to advanced 
students, who surely know what "projection" in psycho- 
analysis means. 

affect — not to be confused with effect, is an emotion of 
considerable strength, brewed in the unconscious but with- 
out reference to the organic counterpart, so far as psycho- 
analysis is concerned. An inexplicable resentment is one 



ambivalence — an attitude consisting of contradictory emo- 
tions, such as love and hate, good wishes and malevolence, 
toward the same person. 

aretology — the discussion or discourse in the realm of 
virtue and its external influence. Dr. Sachs uses the term 
in the sense of miracle-endowment as a result of saintliness. 

autistic (thinking) — wishful (thinking) resulting from 
strong personal striving which is uncontrolled by realistic 
or actual considerations, e.g., when a struggling author 
receives a testimonial from a pseudo-literary society angling 
for monetary contributions, and thinks at once that his 
genius has at long last been recognized, and moreover, 
expects others to treat him as such. 

EGO — in psychoanalysis, not to be identified with conceit 
or self-aggrandizement, or domination, but representing 
the realistic side of our mental make-up, and coinciding 
with the ambitious or professional or esteem-seeking part 
of us; the governing control in us which usually aims to 
steer a middle course between the id and the superego 
(consult on another page) . 

fantasy (Phantasy)— the mechanism or dynamism in the 
unconscious which develops imagery in reference to our 
wishes and drives, often transforming the objects seen, 
heard, or touched into ideal forms, or (occasionally) into 
something much worse than the actual or objective facts 

guilt complex — the source of guilt-feeling or other such 
manifestation, e.g., anxiety, tension, obsession, due to the 
urge for gratifying repressed wishes; and kept alive by 
the activity of the superego. 

id — the reservoir of primitive and unorganized impulses (in 
the mind) which society frowns upon, and which the ego, 



with the help of the superego, as the individual develops, 
tames and cheeks (See Ego and Superego). 

identification — the wishful linking of oneself with some- 
one thought to be of superior merit (the child's father or 
teacher, or an adult's physician or historical ideal) to such 
an extent that the one assumes the manner and behavior 

«of the other. The identification may also be of two people 
both of whom stand in some relation to the identifier, like 
1 father and physician. 

imago — any image of a love-object (mother, e.g.) carried 
in the unconscious, through life, in an idealized form, and 
affecting one's outlook and work. 

libido — a craving which is generally associated with the 
gratification of the sex instinct but is of broader scope 
than the sex act alone. 

narcissism — the state of being "stuck on oneself" going to- 
gether with an inadequate capacity for finding someone 
else to admire and love; a preoccupation with oneself, 
stemming out of an infantile "hangover" and leading to 

phantasy — see fantasy. 

primal scene — the trace, in the unconscious of the adult, 
of the first sexual scene witnessed in early childhood, 
which, though forgotten, is held to be the cause of the 
later neurosis, upon a reactivation of the element, for the 
reason that the original memory, inadequately repressed, is 
waiting for a chance to "come to a head." 

projection — the ascribing to others of certain traits, gen- 
erally undesirable ones, which the individual wishes to 
annul in himself, and, therefore, does not recognize them 
in himself. 



psychoneurotic — an individual who is held so strongly 
by the pattern evolved in childhood so as to interfere with 
adjustment to the subsequent demands of a new reality. 
{After Harms Sachs; see page 44.) 

reaction -formation — the appearance of a trait in an indi- 
vidual in contrast with something which was hitherto char- 
acteristic of him/her, and which serves to cover up the 
repressed remnants of infantile development: thus a 
sloppy boy may become immaculate or a bully at some 
stage turns into a protective youth, etc. 

regression — the process of reverting, in adult life, to a 
mode of behavior indicating sexuality on a pre-genital 
(oral, anal, or auto-erotic) level, the theory being that 
sexuality passes through several stages, in the life of the 
individual, before it reaches the normal. 

repetition compulsion — a tendency of neurotic individ- 
uals to repeat in one form or another, mentally, verbally, 
or through symbolic acts, an experience in the past which 
was particularly distressing, and which, in psychoanalytic 
treatment, is exploited to bring to the surface repressed 
material which is the source of the trouble. 

repression — the process which causes us to forget i.e., 
drives from the conscious to the unconscious, any incident 
which is distressing or produces an emotional shock; to 
be differentiated from suppression which is a conscious 
inhibition of the specific fact, whereas repression stems 
from the unconscious. 

sublimation — the process, in the unconscious, of diverting 
the libido from actual sexual outlets into socially useful 
activities, such as art, philanthropy, religion, etc. 

superego — not to be understood as excess conceit or arro- 
gance (a mistake which it is generally difficult to root out 



in students), but that phase of the mental make-up, akin 
to conscience, ideals, the ethical sense, which causes 
anxiety, pangs of remorse, or feelings of guilt when any 
impulse emanating from the id is allowed to be carried 
through, even half-way, by the ego. 

transference — the process of investing the psychoanalyst, 
on the part of the patient, during treatment, with qualities 
attaching to one of the latter's parents, so that the par- 
ticular unconscious attitude toward that parent, whether of 
love or hostility, is now taken toward the therapist. 

symptomatic ACT — anything done supposedly without in- 
tention, but in reality determined by an unconscious wish, 
such as breaking a vase belonging to the in-laws, or acci- 
dentally dropping a loosened dress so as to embarrass the 

unconscious, the — that part of the mind, i.e., its contents, 
of which we cannot be aware, except through the applica- 
tion of the psychoanalytic method, and which neverthe- 
less functions intensively, through various mechanisms, 
often with grave consequences. 

wish — a dynamic process in the unconscious which directs 
the behavior of the individual, through all sorts of devious 
channels (fantasy), in order to relieve the underlying 
tension but not necessarily consciously experienced as such.